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Microsoft Makes It Easier to Say No to Windows 10
June 28, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new Windows 10 upgrade policy -- weeks after losing a $10,000 case in a small claims court. The owner of TG Travel Group in Sausalito, California, last month won a final judgment after she alleged that her computer was upgraded to the new operating system without prior authorization, according to court documents.
Volkswagen Aims to Clear the Air With $15B US Settlement
June 28, 2016
Volkswagen on Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement to settle claims arising from the emissions scandal that has plagued the company since its discovery two years ago. The company has agreed to set up a $10 billion funding pool to buy back or terminate leases of diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen had used software to cheat on emissions tests.
Twitter Tries to Get Stickier
June 28, 2016
Twitter fans who want to dress up pix they post to the service can do it with #Stickers, a new feature announced Monday. "Soon, you can browse our rotating sets of stickers to join in on real-time conversations, and select from the library of hundreds of accessories, emoji, and props to make your photos more fun," said Sasank Reddy, a senior product manager at Twitter.
Senate Falls Short on Expansion of FBI Surveillance Authority
June 27, 2016
The United States Senate last week rejected a Republican-backed amendment that would have given the FBI expanded authority to access the browser histories and other electronic records of targets of terrorism and other national security investigations without first obtaining a warrant. The Senate voted 58-38 for the amendment, cosponsored by Sens. Richard Burr and John McCain.
AI Playmate Cozmo Wants to Get to Know You
June 27, 2016
Anki on Monday introduced Cozmo, a little robot powered by an advanced artificial intelligence. Cozmo promises to be far more interactive than any toy robot that has been released to date. Although he's designed with play in mind, the combination of technology from toys, videogames and robotics represents a major leap forward, according to Cozmo's creators.
Gun Control and Learning to Make Data-Driven Decisions
June 27, 2016
We live in an unprecedented age of information and computing power -- yet whether publicly or privately, we still make decisions largely on how we feel rather than based on hard information. With this massive influx of data and computing power, when it comes to issues like global warming or gun control, we are more likely to decide based on how we feel rather than figuring out the facts.
Tesla Shares Tank on SolarCity Merger Proposal
June 23, 2016
Shares of Tesla Motors fell sharply Wednesday after the company, helmed by Elon Musk, made an offer to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion. Musk is the chairman and top shareholder of the struggling alternative energy provider. Tesla made the offer Monday, in a letter to SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, noting that Musk and Antonio Gracias would recuse themselves from voting on the proposal.
Instagram Blows Past Competition to 500M Mark
June 22, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday said it had passed a milestone, with its community having grown to more than 500 million members -- more than 300 million of them using the site on a daily basis. The Instagram community has become more global, with more than 80 percent of Instagrammers living outside the United States. Instagram's user base has more than doubled in two years.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
Microsoft Sees Fertile Ground in Cannabis Compliance
June 21, 2016
Microsoft has entered a partnership with Kind Financial to create an entity that will obtain government contracts to track seed-to-sale compliance in the legalized marijuana business. The new entity, Kind Government Solutions, will provide state, county and local municipalities with tracking information on marijuana sales to keep them in compliance with government regulations.
Plume Podifies Home WiFi
June 21, 2016
Plume last week introduced its eponymous self-optimizing WiFi system for the home. Plume adapts in real life to the different network demands made by various devices and ensures that each gets the fastest speeds possible, according to the company. The recommended setup is one pod per room and connecting space, such as a hallway, plus any cable or DSL modem or any modem/router combination.
AI for President
June 20, 2016
Andy Rubin, Android's daddy, last week made some interesting comments about quantum computing and artificial intelligence. The part I agree with is it won't be long until most things we have are connected to an intelligent machine. However, when referring to something that will be far smarter than we are, the use of the term "artificial" would not just be inaccurate -- it would be rude.
Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
Feds Seek to Cut Software Costs and Expand Licenses
June 16, 2016
Software vendors who sell their wares to the U.S. government soon will face a significantly different marketing environment in terms of how federal agencies acquire the programs and technologies that keep IT systems going. Federal agencies spent nearly $9 billion in 2015 on software, and the OMB has directed them to adopt practices that will simplify and streamline software acquisition.
Nintendo's New Zelda Adventure Draws E3 Cheers
June 16, 2016
Nintendo on Tuesday offered E3 attendees a preview of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest title in the action-adventure franchise. This time the story involves much more than rescuing a princess. The game actually has been years in the making, and at E3 Nintendo pulled out all stops, devoting much of its booth to the game. Nintendo presented two different demos of Breath of Wild.
Facebook Tackles Suicide Prevention Worldwide
June 16, 2016
Facebook plans to roll out its suicide prevention tools and resources around the world. Already available in the U.S., the resources are designed to help members who may be thinking about committing suicide or otherwise hurting themselves, as well as family and friends who are concerned about their loved ones' well being. The tools are available in the local languages where members are based.
Rubin Sees AI Quantum Computer Running the Show
June 15, 2016
Just one quantum computer running artificial intelligence algorithms would be capable of connecting pretty much all the devices on the planet, Android creator Andy Rubin said Tuesday. Rubin, who also launched Google's efforts in robotics, is now CEO of Playground, which together with Redpoint Ventures has invested in an unnamed startup working on quantum computing.
Sony Unveils Slew of New PlayStation Titles
June 15, 2016
Sony on Monday announced its new game lineup for the year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. "We have just concluded the PlayStation E3 Press Conference for 2016 and if ever there was a year dedicated to thrilling entertainment experiences, this is it," noted Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
FCC Wins Huge Net Neutrality Victory Over Big Telecom
June 14, 2016
An appellate court on Tuesday handed a major victory to the FCC by upholding the Open Internet Order, which ensures equal access to the Internet. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the FCC's right to impose Net neutrality rules that essentially prevent big telecom and broadband companies from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking service.
Microsoft Expands Xbox Gaming Territory
June 14, 2016
Microsoft on Monday launched a new lineup of Xbox game devices at its E3 conference, including Xbox One S, its smallest and most compact console to date. The company also previewed the highly anticipated Project Scorpio, which it claims will be the most powerful game console ever created. The new Xbox Play Anywhere program will allow game play on Xbox consoles or Windows 10 devices.
Fiery Ex-NASA Chief Unveils Neuro-Computing Firm
June 13, 2016
Former NASA administrator Dan Goldin last week introduced a 10-year-old startup to the public. Backed by $100 million in private funding, KnuEdge is working to develop breakthrough technologies in voice biometrics and neural computing. KnuEdge launched two new products upon its emergence from stealth mode. KnuVerse offers military-grade voice recognition and authentication technology.
Musk Envisions Wagon Train to Mars
June 13, 2016
Elon Musk fleshed out his vision for establishing the first colony on Mars in a recent interview. As soon as 2018, Musk's SpaceX venture could launch an unmanned spacecraft to the red planet, he said, and that could be followed by future unmanned flights every two years -- timed for when the Earth and Mars orbits position the planets closest together.
Google and the Birth of the People-Delivery Drone
June 13, 2016
Larry Page is rumored to be building a flying car, apparently dropping a whopping $100M into the effort. Surprisingly, this actually makes more sense to me than a self-driving car does, because it potentially solves two problems at once: You won't have to fly the thing yourself; and it eliminates the need for roads for those who commute to work. Roads could be just for moving heavy stuff.
The Tricky Business of Crafting Solid Cloud SLAs
June 10, 2016
In the five years since the U.S. government put a clear emphasis on utilizing cloud technology, federal procurement offices have engaged in seemingly endless tinkering of contracting vehicles to promote cloud adoption. The core element of virtually every type of federal cloud procurement contract is the service level agreement, upon which billions of dollars of cloud investments are based.
Devs Light Up for Alexa
June 10, 2016
Amazon last week announced the availability of more than 1,000 different skills for its Alexa voice assistant technology. Third-party developers have created the vast array of new capabilities for the highly popular line of consumer products that use Alexa, including the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap and Amazon Fire. The announcement comes less than a year after Amazon released the Alexa Skills Kit.
HPE Wants Open Source Devs to Kick The Machine Into Gear
June 10, 2016
Hewlett Packard Enterprise on Tuesday announced it was open-sourcing The Machine to spur development of the infant computer design project. HPE has invited the open source community to collaborate on its largest and most notable research project yet. The Machine focuses on reinventing the architecture underlying all computers built in the past 60 years.
Larry Page May Be Blazing a Trail for Self-Flying Cars
June 9, 2016
Google cofounder Larry Page reportedly is working with two Silicon Valley startups to develop a flying car. One is Zee.Aero, which Page personally has funded since its launch in 2010, when it set up shop next to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The firm reportedly has filed a patent application for a small, all-electric vehicle that could take off and land vertically.
Snowden and the NSA Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
June 8, 2016
Edward Snowden made a greater effort than originally believed to raise his concerns within the NSA before releasing thousands of classified documents detailing programs that allowed the agency to spy on U.S. citizens. The truth is more complex than the NSA let on, according to a report based on documents secured through two years of Freedom of Information Act litigation.
New Samsung Fitness Trackers Have Music Built-In
June 8, 2016
Samsung last week unveiled its Gear Fit2 fitness band and Gear IconX earbud set. The Gear Fit2 will be available for $180 this Friday at major retailers. The IconX will hit shelves in the third quarter of this year. The Gear Fit2 has a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor. The Gear IconX is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can track fitness information.
Uber Tosses Its Drivers a Few Bones
June 8, 2016
Facing growing pressure from labor unions and regulators across the U.S. and key overseas markets, Uber on Monday introduced a series of new apps and benefits for its core group of drivers. The goal is to make their working hours more productive and profitable. Among the new apps are Driver Destinations, which lets drivers restrict ride requests to their current routes.
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Live streaming video...
is the next big thing.
is a passing fad.
will dramatically improve citizen journalism.
will feed a lot more disturbing imagery to the Web.
doesn't interest me.