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Google Boots Ads for Predatory Payday Lenders
May 12, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it would ban advertising for payday loans in its ad systems. Starting July 13, the company will prohibit ads for payday loans and related products where funds are due within 60 days of the date of issue, as well as ads for loans with an APR of 36 percent, said David Graff, Google's director of global product policy.
Defense IT Contract Rekindles Pricing Complaints
May 12, 2016
What's not to like about the U.S. government offering IT vendors $17.5 billion for products and services? The opportunity is attractive, and many vendors have expressed interest in a Department of Defense contract that covers the acquisition of a broad range of IT capabilities. A request for proposals for the Encore III contract was issued in March. Bids were accepted through late April.
iPhone 7 Rumors Blunt Anticipation
May 11, 2016
It appears there won't be a lot of design changes in the next iPhone, according to a schematic photo published online Monday. It shows what's purported to be Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 to be the same size as the 6s. "They've done a lot with the design already. They're keeping multiple design languages to keep their customer base happy," said analyst Kevin Krewell.
IBM to Drill Watson in Cybersecurity
May 11, 2016
IBM on Tuesday announced Watson for Cyber Security, a cloud-based version of its AI technology, trained in cybersecurity as part of a year-long research project. IBM will collaborate with eight universities with renowned cybersecurity programs, including MIT and the University of Waterloo in Canada. The universities' students will provide the data for Watson.
Ford, Microsoft Pour Cash Into Pivotal
May 10, 2016
Pivotal last week announced a $253 million round of Series C financing. Led by new investor Ford, together with Microsoft and previous investors GE, EMC and VMware, the deal is expected to close this month. Pivotal's customers include seven of the top 10 U.S. banks and three global automakers. Its agile-based approach lets enterprises build and operate software rapidly, the company said.
Google, Fiat Chrysler Team on Self-Driving Minivans
May 10, 2016
Google's Self-Driving Car Project and Fiat Chrysler last week announced that they would integrate autonomous vehicle technology into 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as part of Google's testing program. It is the first time Google has worked directly with a carmaker to integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger vehicle. It will add 100 Pacifica Hybrids to its test program.
Air Cargo Deal Gives Amazon More Control Over Deliveries
May 10, 2016
Amazon has entered a 10-year lease agreement with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the aircraft company announced last week. Under the agreement, Amazon has the right to buy up to 30 percent of Atlas Air. Amazon will lease a fleet of 20 Boeing 767-300 converted freighters -- including crew, maintenance and insurance -- for seven years, with extensions to 10 years.
IBM Extends Open Invitation to Play With Its Quantum Computer
May 10, 2016
IBM last week announced that it would allow researchers and scientists to run experiments using its quantum processor. The IBM Quantum Experience runs on the IBM Cloud. Users will be able to run algorithms and experiments on the quantum processor; work with individual quantum bits, or qubits; and explore tutorials and simulations on the possibilities opened up by quantum computing.
Tweet Tracker Spurns US Intelligence Agencies
May 10, 2016
Twitter reportedly has blocked U.S. intelligence agencies from accessing information from Dataminr, a firm that tracks tweets in real time to provide actionable information for financial, media, security and other types of institutional clients. The block suggests Twitter is unwilling to cooperate with government agencies on intelligence gathering. Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr.
Futuristic Digital Assistant Viv Takes the Stage
May 9, 2016
Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus on Monday demonstrated at Disrupt NY 2016 technology that was designed to make people-to-machine interactions as natural as people-to-people interactions. Kittlaus, the former CEO of Siri, and other Siri vets cofounded Viv in 2012. The artificial intelligence-enabled interface no user manual and can handle complex tasks via simple commands, he said.
4th Time's the Charm for Uncharted
May 7, 2016
The final chapter in Sony's PlayStation 4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End brings the story of treasure hunter Nathan Drake to a satisfying conclusion, suggest early reviews. The game will hit retail outlets Tuesday. The game is the final title in the series, developer Naughty Dog has said. It seems that the studio went out all to ensure that the saga ended on a high note.
Aging at Home, Part 2: Some Tech to Watch Over Me
May 6, 2016
When road maps for advanced care terminate in the familiar surroundings of one's home, as opposed to assisted living facilities and hospitals, technology can be as critical and comforting as human caregiving. Neither can replace the benefits the other brings. For individuals who would like to age in place, it's critical to factor in new and upcoming technologies when having end-game conversations.
Aging at Home, Part 1: Home May Be Where the Technology Is
May 5, 2016
Medicare started off the year putting into action a program to encourage more doctors to discuss end-of-life and advance care plans with patients. While the details tend to focus on the hard choices on the far side of those arrangements, new and near-future technologies could preserve life's simple pleasures on their front end. End-of-life conversations are meant to cover more than the final days or weeks.
India Rejects Apple's iPhone Retread Plan
May 4, 2016
India's telecommunications ministry has rejected Apple's proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Officials apparently based their rejection of the proposal on rules that prohibit importing used electronics. The country's environmental ministry nixed a similar request last year. With smartphone sales starting to stall, India could become an important market for Apple.
Researchers Hijack Samsung's SmartThings IoT System
May 4, 2016
Researchers at the University of Michigan on Monday announced they had uncovered a series of vulnerabilities in the Samsung SmartThings home automation system that essentially could have allowed hackers to take control of various functions and break into a user's home. The researchers, working with Microsoft, were able to perform four proof-of-concept attacks.
Gadget Ogling: Digital Doodles, Magnetic Lighting, and Alexa Everywhere
May 4, 2016
Orée's Stylograph pen, which is made of copper, can transmit your scrawls and doodles to an iOS or Android device. It houses an accelerometer and a camera on the tip to capture what you're noting. You can get two days of use from an hour's charge, and if you're away from your smartphone or tablet as you're sketching or writing, you can store the data and transfer it later.
WhatsApp Goes Through Judicial Revolving Door in Brazil
May 3, 2016
A Brazilian court on Tuesday overturned a different court's Monday order that blocked WhatsApp, the messaging site owned by Facebook, amid a criminal investigation into drug trafficking in the state of Sergipe. The earlier judicial demand that WhatsApp provide data considered critical to the investigation came soon after a ramp-up in the level of encryption built into the app.
Law Affords More Protection to PINs Than Prints
May 3, 2016
A federal magistrate in Los Angeles ordered the girlfriend of an alleged gang member to open her phone using her fingerprint so prosecutors could look at the data on it for a case they were working on, according to a news report published last week. After Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan pleaded no contest to identity theft, a judge issued a warrant to force her to press her finger to her iPhone to open it.
Supreme Court Grants Federal Agents Broader Surveillance Authority
May 3, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court has approved a series of amendments to the federal rules of criminal procedure that would let judges issue search warrants for computers located outside their jurisdiction. Chief Justice John Roberts announced the changes in the Court's interpretation of the rules. They would allow a judge to issue warrants to search for electronic evidence at remote sites, for example.
SpaceX's Red Dragon Could Soar Off on Mars Mission in 2018
May 3, 2016
SpaceX last week announced plans to launch a mission for Mars in 2018, with help from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Red Dragon, a variant of the SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft, will make the unmanned journey. The Falcon Heavy 9 space launch vehicle will send it on its way. The mission will gain data for NASA as part of its agreement with SpaceX.
The Customer Experience Tipping Point
May 2, 2016
Sometimes, it takes something drastic to change a business' behavior. Standard procedures can remain in place long after they've become detrimental, but sometimes it takes a tipping point to drive home the fact that failing to change is the surest way to fail. For example, the Ford Pinto's easily ruptured fuel tank could have been remedied with changes that ranged in price from $11 to $1.
Apple Drops CareKit on GitHub
April 29, 2016
Apple on Thursday made its CareKit platform available through the GitHub open source community. CareKit joins two other Apple frameworks for developing healthcare apps -- HealthKit and ResearchKit. It was designed to enable developers to create apps that give users a more active role in managing their health. Apps developed through CareKit will let people track symptoms and medications.
Getty Images Takes Google Grievances to EU
April 29, 2016
Getty Images on Wednesday filed a competition law complaint against Google with the European Commission. The company last year filed an "interested third party" submission in support of the EC's investigation into Google's anticompetitive business practices. Getty's complaint, in essence, is that Google Images facilitates piracy of high-res copyrighted content.
Alexa Takes Up Residence in a Really Smart Fridge Magnet
April 28, 2016
Invoxia on Thursday announced that Amazon's Alexa Voice Service has been integrated with its Triby digital assistants. The voice-activated unit is the first non-Amazon product to be Alexa-enabled. Triby, which has a magnetic frame, features a built-in speaker and microphone that can be used to listen to Internet radio or as a hands-free speakerphone, but its main function is to act as a digital assistant.
FBI Says Its Hands Are Tied on Revealing iPhone Crack Details
April 28, 2016
The FBI on Wednesday confirmed its decision not to inform Apple of how it hacked into the encrypted iPhone used in last December's San Bernardino terrorist attack. The bureau was investigating the possibility that deceased shooters Syed Farook, who used the iPhone, and his wife may have had links to other terrorist plots. It also was searching for evidence tying the two to ISIS.
Nokia Buys Into Digital Health
April 28, 2016
Nokia on Tuesday announced plans to purchase Withings for $192 million in cash as part of its move into the healthcare devices arena. The deal is expected to close in early Q3, and Withings will become part of the Nokia Technologies business. "We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia," CEO Rajeev Suri said.
Gadget Ogling: Electric Nightmares, Cold Coffee, and a Smart Clothespin
April 28, 2016
I'm quite possibly the worst person in the world at waking up, without exaggeration. As a boy, I slept through a gas explosion that destroyed a home around 100 yards from my bedroom. All too often, I rely on my partner to shake me out of my slumber, as my own alarm clock rarely does the trick. I need something a little more forceful. The Shock Clock may be just up my alley.
IT Execs Join Federal Cybersecurity Panel
April 28, 2016
Key components of the Obama administration's multipronged cybersecurity initiative keep falling into place. One of the most recent developments was the formation of a federal Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Another was the formal introduction in Congress of the administration's information technology investment plan, which is heavily tilted toward cybersecurity protection.
Tech, Auto Honchos Join Forces to Push Self-Driving Cars
April 27, 2016
Some major players in both the new and old economies on Tuesday announced an alliance to pave the way for self-driving cars in America. Ford, Google, Lyft, Uber and Volvo raised the curtain on their Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, which will work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to raise awareness of the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.
Regulators Impose Caveats on Charter TWC Merger Approval
April 27, 2016
Federal regulators on Monday approved Charter Communications' $78 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks, but with a number of tough conditions. The Justice Department filed a settlement agreement to block the new company from enforcing any deal that makes it harder for online video distributors to get video content from programmers.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.