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Xbox One X: More Speed, More Muscle
June 14, 2017
Microsoft earlier this week announced the next version of its Xbox line of gaming consoles, ahead of E3 2017, now ongoing in Los Angeles. The new Xbox One X, which goes on sale Nov. 7 for $499, is slimmer than previous models and packed with power. With a 6-teraflop Scorpio engine, the One X has 40 percent faster graphics performance than its chief rival, Sony's PS4 Pro.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
'Arms' Could Help Nintendo Fight Its Way Back Into the Ring
June 9, 2017
Arms, the highly anticipated fighting game for Nintendo's Switch, will be available next Friday, and based on the early reviews, the company just may have found the magic bullet. Nintendo's Switch console, launched earlier this year, has been something of a surprise success. Prior to its launch, it seemed like a risky play for the company, which has been bobbing and weaving in recent years.
E3 2017: Enhancements, Expectations and Perhaps Excitement
June 8, 2017
All of the major video game developers, publishers and console hardware makers, as well as many retail buyers and the gaming press, will descend on Los Angeles for E3 2017 next week. The annual event -- a showcase for computer, video and mobile games and related products -- will kick off officially on Tuesday and run through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Alphabet Jumps on the $1K-a-Share Train
June 5, 2017
Alphabet shares reached a new record high on Monday, surpassing the $1,000 benchmark just a week after Amazon accomplished the feat. Investors placed bets that Google's core search and emerging AI technology will help maintain the company's dominance over rivals. The stock price surged after securities analyst Andy Hargreaves advised investors to get out of Apple and invest in Alphabet.
Tech Titans Pledge Continued Paris Accord Support
June 3, 2017
Reacting to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, several high-tech industry leaders have pledged renewed environmental efforts. "Disappointed with today's decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all," tweeted CEO Sundar Pichai. "We will double our efforts to fight climate change," tweeted Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
Plex Advances Cord-Cutting Case With Live OTA TV
June 2, 2017
Video streaming service Plex on Thursday announced the availability of a beta version of its Plex Live TV. The live-TV streaming launch follows last year's introduction of the Plex DVR, which provides users with free over-the-air access to 86 of Nielsen's 100 most watched shows in the United States. Plex Live TV currently is available only on Android TV and iOS devices.
Facebook's Original Programming Plans Take Shape
May 31, 2017
Facebook last week signed agreements with several content firms -- among them Vox, Buzzfeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media, according to reports. The deals are widely viewed as part of the company's strategy to attract millennials to its live-streaming Web content. Facebook will offer multi-tiered programming, according to a report that cited sources familiar with the plans.
A Better World President MarySue Hansell: Getting Real With a Virtual Do-Good Game
May 30, 2017
"We saw that there was a lack of kindness, a lack of empathy ... and we thought it would be nice if we could use technology to do something about it," said MarySue Hansell, president of A Better World. "We thought Facebook offered a wonderful opportunity to use a large technical platform to create a virtual world that would have a big impact, with a game that emphasizes positive thinking."
Microsoft's Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game
May 25, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as "Beam." In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers. The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft.
Genesys Launches G-Nine CX Framework
May 24, 2017
Genesys on Monday introduced G-Nine. "Think of G-Nine as the Genesys innovation framework that guides many aspects of our business -- product strategy being one of those," said Genesys CMO Merijn te Booij. "Within the G-Nine innovation framework, we have defined our themes related to technology and consumer trends that we'll focus on in the next two years."
Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction
May 24, 2017
Parents don't need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories on the visages of kids of all ages these days. Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction -- and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt.
Leaked Docs Spotlight Complexity of Moderating Facebook Content
May 23, 2017
The public got a rare view into how Facebook tries to keep offensive and dangerous content offline in a report published Sunday. Leaked confidential documents exposed the secret rules by which Facebook polices postings on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm, as well as such subjects as sports fixing and cannibalism.
Report: Cybersecurity Dangerously Lax at Mar-a-Lago
May 19, 2017
Internet security at Mar-a-Lago -- the private club President Trump owns and has dubbed the "Southern White House" -- is weak, based on a recent investigation. Trump has used the resort to meet with staffers and foreign heads of state on official business. In February, he took a call about a North Korean ballistic missile launch in Mar-a-Lago's dining room, with members and waiters present.
Microsoft Debuts Smarter Cloud at Build
May 11, 2017
Microsoft executives, led by CEO Satya Nadella, introduced a series of enhancements to the company's critical data and cloud services at the kickoff of its annual Build conference, demonstrating new ways to expand adoption of artificial intelligence, personal digital assistants and other innovations. There will be more than 25 billion intelligent devices in the world by 2020, Nadella said.
The IoT's Scramble to Combat Botnets
May 11, 2017
With shadowy botnet armies lurking around the globe and vigilante gray-hat actors inoculating susceptible devices, the appetite for Internet of Things security is stronger than ever. "If you throw IoT on a con talk, you've got a pretty good chance to get in," remarked information security professional Jason Kent, as he began his presentation at Chicago's Thotcon conference last week.
What Internet-Connected War Might Look Like
May 10, 2017
A technician hurriedly slings his backpack over his shoulders, straps on his M9 pistol, and bolts out of the transport with his squad of commandos in a hail of gunfire. As soon as his team reaches the compound, he whips out a laptop and starts deploying a rootkit to the target server, bullets whizzing overhead all the while. Army Cyber Institute's recruits are training to do just that.
Flaw in Intel Chips Could Open Door to Botnet Armies
May 9, 2017
A 7-year-old flaw in Intel chips could enable hijackers to gain total control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes. The Intel AMT vulnerability is the first of its kind, according to Embedi, which released technical details about it last week. Attackers could exploit the flaw to get full control over business computers, even those turned off but plugged into an outlet.
John Oliver's Viewers Flood FCC Site With Net Neutrality Concerns
May 9, 2017
Comedian John Oliver, incensed over proposed changes to unravel Net neutrality protections for consumers, unleashed a torrent of criticism against the FCC and urged viewers to register their protest online. The response led to a digital meltdown on the agency's site Sunday night. Oliver targeted a proposal that would loosen Net neutrality regulations.
Google Neutralizes Docs Phishing Scam
May 5, 2017
A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said.
Hulu Aims to Reinvent Live TV Experience
May 4, 2017
Hulu has announced a new live-streaming television service for $39.99 per month, which will place the company in direct competition with newly launched services from DirecTV Now, YouTube and other OTT content providers. The Hulu with Live TV beta will offer 50 channels of live-streaming television -- including sports, news, entertainment, children's programming and local network affiliates.
New Deals Turn Twitter's Content Stream Into a River
May 2, 2017
Twitter has announced a partnership with Bloomberg to launch a 24-hour streaming news service -- one of a dozen new content deals Twitter has entered to drive user engagement. CEO Jack Dorsey and a group of top executives announced the slate of programming agreements -- which include concerts from Live Nation, sports from Major League Baseball and the WNBA, and a morning news show from BuzzFeed.
Instagram Snaps Up Rivals' Users
April 28, 2017
Instagram has reached a milestone of 700 million members while enjoying the fastest-ever growth rate in its history. The network has grown by more than 100 million members in the last four months. Its burgeoning growth can be credited to new features like Stories, live video and disappearing messages, the company said. User engagement with Stories has grown to more than 200 million people per day.
Duty Calls Popular Shooter Back to World War II
April 28, 2017
Call of Duty will return to its World War II roots when the latest title arrives this November, publisher Activision Blizzard has announced. The franchise has been a steady hit maker since its 2003 debut. Various titles in the series have become regular staples in e-sports tournaments and Major League Gaming. Call of Duty is one of the most popular series in video game history.
Internet Giants Ramp Up Fake News Defenses
April 27, 2017
Three major Internet brands this week announced initiatives to combat "fake news" online. Google revealed that it had tweaked its search processes to help bring high-quality content to the top of search result pages. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced a new online publication that aims to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with legions of volunteer community contributors.
Then and Now
April 26, 2017
A few years ago, when Oracle was busy buying companies to fill out its front-office cloud offering, RightNow developed a "day in the life" video that has stuck with me. It was shown at RightNow's last user meeting as an independent company. In fact, at the conference where it debuted, Oracle announced its acquisition of RightNow. The video's importance was as a harbinger of things to come.
New Strain of Linux Malware Could Get Serious
April 25, 2017
A new strain of malware targeting Linux systems, dubbed "Linux/Shishiga," could morph into a dangerous security threat. Eset disclosed the threat, which represents a new Lua family unrelated to previously seen LuaBot malware. Linux/Shishiga uses four protocols -- SSH, Telnet, HTTP and BitTorrent -- and Lua scripts for modularity, wrote Detection Engineer Michal Malik and Eset researchers.
Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
April 25, 2017
The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car is just down the road?
Google Mulls Ways to Banish Bad Ads
April 22, 2017
Google reportedly has been working on a plan to install an ad blocker onto its Chrome browser. It also has been considering a collaboration with Microsoft, Facebook and other firms to develop a set of standards that would determine which types of advertising to block from websites. That effort presumably would aim at blocking abusive ads without jeopardizing ads from legitimate firms.
Facebook's Latest Moon Shot: I Think, Therefore I Type
April 21, 2017
Facebook on Wednesday told its F8 conference audience about two new cutting-edge projects that could change the way humans engage with devices. Over the next two years, the company will work on a new technology that will allow anyone to type around 100 words per minute -- not with fingers, but using a process that would decode neural activity devoted to speech. What Facebook envisions is a technology that would resemble a neural network.
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How urgent is the need to provide broadband services for rural U.S. communities?
It's critical to the entire economy, and everyone should share the cost.
If rural residents really want high-speed Internet, they should foot the bill.
Internet providers will benefit -- they should build out their own networks.
The government should ensure that everyone is connected, but broadband isn't necessary.
People who choose to live off the grid do so for a reason -- leave them alone.
Providers should improve broadband services in heavily populated areas first.