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Gadget Ogling: Capacious Cases, Dumb Domestic Drones, Smarty-Pants Cups
April 11, 2015
When it comes to adding extending your smartphone or tablet battery life during the day, Mophie's been trying to make life easier a little longer than most, with time to iterate on its battery pack cases. The company's going a little further now, as it expands its Space line of cases that house not only batteries, but external storage for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini.
Flir Debuts Triple-Threat Video Cam
April 10, 2015
Flir Systems, known primarily for its commercial sensor products, on Tuesday made a foray into the consumer market with a new video camera that can be used for home monitoring, sports, and even as a dash cam. The new Flir FX video camera, which supports WiFi, is a compact unit capable of capturing HD, as well as integrating with cloud-based analytics and a set of application-oriented mounts.
DEA Sued for Unconstitutional Phone Surveillance
April 10, 2015
The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week filed a complaint against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for secretly collecting data on all telephone calls to as many as 116 countries, possibly going back to the 1990s. The suit was filed on behalf of Human Rights Watch. Many of the calls were made to countries known to be heavily involved in the drug trade.
Devs Rev Up for a Weekend of Galactic Problem-Solving
April 9, 2015
More than 10,000 software and hardware developers, scientists and space fans will spend this weekend huddling in rooms in 136 cities around the world to participate in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge -- a hackathon for space wonks. Using IBM's Bluemix, they will develop apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions to help explore space and to improve life on Earth.
Microsoft Plugs Over-the-Air TV Into Xbox One
April 8, 2015
Checking another item off its to-do list, Microsoft on Wednesday announced an update to its latest Xbox One console: support over-the-air television broadcasts. A TV tuner is necessary to pick up OTA signals, and Microsoft has partnered with Hauppauge, which provides one that can do the job. The OTA update, a chart topper at Xbox's Feedback site, is live now for Xbox One Preview members.
Early Reviews Give Apple Watch One and a Half Thumbs Up
April 8, 2015
The prelaunch reviews of the Apple Watch are out, and though they're generally favorable, they include a few niggling complaints. A select group of reviewers were loaned an Apple Watch for a week. Overall, their consensus is that it's a fine device for tracking health and fitness, it's great for making digital payments, and it has excellent battery life.
FTC Upgrades IT to Protect Consumer Privacy, Data Security
April 8, 2015
The FTC, which is at the forefront of regulating the impact of information technology on consumers, is bolstering its technical resource capabilities through a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation. The FTC is concerned about the failure of commercial entities to make adequate disclosures or to properly address data breaches and privacy issues.
Flexible Aluminum-Ion Battery Recharges in 60 Seconds
April 8, 2015
Researchers have been attempting to develop an aluminum-ion battery for decades -- and a Stanford team on Tuesday revealed its breakthrough that could lead to the adoption of fast-charging, long-lasting batteries in the near future. The turning point occurred when the researchers were trying out materials to serve as a cathode, and they began experimenting with graphite.
YouTube Foists Deceptive Ads on Kids, Says Complaint
April 7, 2015
Child and consumer advocacy groups on Monday filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. In essence, the app includes ads in a way that takes advantage of children's developmental vulnerabilities, the complaint alleges.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Apple TV Won't Go Out on 4K Limb
April 6, 2015
The fourth generation of the Apple TV set-top box won't support 4K video when it arrives later this year, according to a Monday report on Buzzfeed News, which cited unnamed sources in a position to know. This is a bit of a surprise, given that the third-generation Apple TV incorporated the higher-resolution 1080p video standard and included HDMI-video outputs.
EC Greases Its Google Antitrust Gears
April 2, 2015
The European Commission reportedly is preparing to file a Statement of Objections detailing specific antitrust charges against Google. The EC is collecting testimony from companies that have filed private complaints about Google's business practices to gather more firepower in moving forward in antitrust matters, reports indicate. The EC is rumored to be considering a penalty of $6 billion.
Google Goes Crazy for Chromebooks
April 1, 2015
Google has announced two new budget-busting Chromebook computers, a tablet/notebook convertible with a full swivel screen, and a Chrome computer-on-a-stick. The Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook both are available for preorder for $149. The Asus Chromebook Flip will hit the market this spring with a $249 price tag. The Asus Chromebit will be available this summer for less than $100.
India's Tussle With Internet Freedom
April 1, 2015
The Supreme Court of India last week struck down a law that permitted arrests for posting "offensive" content online. It ruled that Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional, and said it had no hesitation in striking it down. The law was challenged after two women were arrested in 2012 for posting critical comments on Facebook.
Halo Fans Hunt for Truth, Microsoft Hunts for Hearts
March 31, 2015
Xbox and 343 Industries have released two live-action trailers for Halo 5: Guardians to encourage both Xbox One owners and holdouts to "hunt the truth." The trailers aired during The Walking Dead's season finale. In one, the story catches up with Master Chief scorning an injured and supine Spartan Locke with an unsettling benediction. In the other, their roles are reversed.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
The Futility of the Strong Password Solution
March 31, 2015
After experiencing a data breach, most companies take a number of measures to strengthen security, including advising users to change their passwords and to make them strong. Although it stopped short of confirming anything, Amazon-owned Twitch last week notified users that its network might have been hacked and that some user account information might have been exposed.
Compliance Mindset Can Lead to Epic Security Fail
March 30, 2015
The recent data breach at Premera Blue Cross -- in which the personal information of some 11 million customers was compromised -- raises questions about how effective government regulators are at ensuring that healthcare providers adequately protect their patients' data. There have been abundant warnings that compliance with government regulations alone would not be adequate.
YouTube Fiddles With 4K
March 30, 2015
YouTube on Friday announced that it would begin supporting Ultra High Definition 4K video content. YouTube officially unveiled the news via TestTube, an incubator for new features concocted by its so-called mad scientists. YouTube developers have posted six experimental videos that can be streamed at up to 2160p -- essentially a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160.
Retiring in a Tropical Paradise: Risks May Outweigh Rewards
March 30, 2015
One of the really attractive options for retirement is moving to another country and, for a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S., living like royalty. Well, I've been hearing a lot of stories about this over the last year, and I think there is reason for concern. This isn't to say that a lot of folks haven't done it successfully.
Gadget Ogling: Shooting Flames, Flowing Time, and Locked-Up Temptation
March 28, 2015
Someway, somehow, it's apparently legal to own the XM42 flamethrower in the United States, unless you happen to live in California or Maryland. I can't fathom any circumstance under which a weapon -- let's not mince words here -- capable of shooting flames 25 feet should be available for anyone to pick up if they have $700 lying around to back Ion Productions' crowdfunding campaign.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
Ford Tech Could Put an End to Speeding Tickets
March 26, 2015
Ford Motors on Tuesday unveiled a new technology that can scan traffic signs and automatically adjust a vehicle's speed accordingly. The Intelligent Speed Limiter was demonstrated in Germany, but it will be available worldwide in the newest edition of Ford's S-Max cars. The technology features a camera mounted on the windshield that works with a recognition system that can read roadside signs.
Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand
March 25, 2015
It looks and sounds good, but virtual reality is still establishing how to get around in the digital worlds it creates. OSVR has placed the controls in the hands of Leap Motion, which may be a stellar move. Leap's novel approach embeds the VR controls in a faceplate that can be attached to an OSVR-compatible headset. The faceplate will be bundled with OSVR's Hacker Dev Kit when it ships in June.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.
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