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Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
Germany Could Ding Facebook for Fake News
December 30, 2016
The frenzied 2016 election cycle mercifully is over, but Facebook's fake news problem isn't going away. The company may face steep fines in Germany if it fails to address it satisfactorily. A bill slated for consideration next year would establish fines of up to $500,000 euros per day for each day that a fake news story persisted after notification of its falsehood was provided.
Apple, Ireland Balk at EU's Bill for Back Taxes
December 29, 2016
Apple and the Irish government are fighting what some view as a European Union tax grab. The two recently filed a formal appeal of the EC's decision ordering Apple to pay nearly $14 billion in back taxes, based on its finding that Ireland had given Apple several illegal tax breaks. The EC found that Ireland had allowed Apple to determine its tax based on the activities of its subsidiary firms.
2016: The Year That Was
December 26, 2016
2016 really was a year like no other. We had yet another election defined by the misuse of analytics -- and folks seem to be getting worse rather than better at this. We had a rush to robotics, particularly self-driving cars, and some firms even leaped ahead to self-flying, people-delivering drones. We had a wave of fake news, mostly paid for by Google, because that company has no compass.
Gadget Ogling: Heightened Hearing, Toasty Toes, and Glass Speakers
December 22, 2016
Bose's latest earbuds are designed to help you tune in to the specific sounds you want to hear. Hearphones are a sort of blend of noise-cancelling earbuds and hearing aids. There are several presets in the app, with names like "focused conversation," "gym," "airplane" and "television." You can opt to crank up the volume on all sound from the world around you or turn it down.
Waymo Offers Glimpse of Autonomous Chrysler Minivans
December 20, 2016
Waymo, the standalone venture that emerged from Google's self-driving car project, on Monday unveiled a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans with the latest high-tech sensors, telematics, and other gear designed for fully autonomous operation. Modifications were made to several parts of the Pacifica to optimize it for fully autonomous driving.
Is Peter Thiel the Most Powerful Person in Tech?
December 19, 2016
There are generally two paths for dealing with someone in power when disagreements arise. One is to confront, and the other is to understand and influence. What is interesting is the most common path taken is the former while the most successful is the latter. I think the reason is that the former path is both the natural path for disagreement and the most visible.
Uber Staff Still Stalking Customers, Claims Suit
December 17, 2016
The controversy over Uber staff using the company's tech to track people's movements was reignited this week when information in a pending lawsuit began circulating in the tech press. Uber employees can pull customer data at will, alleged Ward Spangenberg, the company's former forensic investigator, in a court declaration filed earlier this fall.
Sales, Marketing Poised for AI Revolution
December 16, 2016
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize marketing in the next five years, according to a Demandbase survey conducted last month. Eighty percent of the 500 B2B marketers who participated in the online poll, conducted last month by Wakefield Research, said they expected an AI-fueled marketing revolution. However, only 26 percent were very confident they understood how AI was used in marketing.
Tech Leaders, Trump Team Search for Common Ground
December 15, 2016
There appears to be some optimism in the air following Wednesday's highly anticipated sit-down between the Trump transition team and more than a dozen top Silicon Valley executives at Trump Tower. The Trump transition team and executives who attended the summit suggested that the two sides found common ground on a number of issues that could spur economic growth.
Nvidia Takes Self-Driving Journey to California Roads
December 15, 2016
Nvidia last week began test-driving autonomous cars on California roads, after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles gave it the green light. The company is testing its Drive PX2 autonomous driving platform, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. Nvidia recently has made several well publicized moves in the autonomous car arena.
FCC's Tom Wheeler Hitting the Road
December 15, 2016
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Thursday announced that he will leave the agency he helmed for the past three years on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in. "Serving as FCC chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life," Wheeler said.
Gates Spearheads $1B Clean Tech Effort
December 15, 2016
One year after a powerhouse group of technology executives and venture capital icons met to form the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the group, led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has launched a $1 billion investment fund to support clean energy startups around the world. The Breakthrough Energy Fund, chaired by Gates, is designed to jumpstart an entire new generation of entrepreneurs.
Amazon Prime Air Zips Through British Countryside
December 15, 2016
Amazon on Wednesday announced that it had completed its first drone delivery in the UK. During the private customer trial period, packages of up to 5 pounds will be delivered within half an hour. The first live delivery took place a week ago, when a highly automated drone delivered a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire TV to a customer near Cambridge. It took 13 minutes for the order to arrive.
Uber's Self-Driving Fleet Takes On San Francisco
December 14, 2016
Uber on Wednesday rolled out a fleet of self-driving cars in San Francisco, the second U.S. city to participate in its pilot project. Pittsburgh was the first. Riders who request an UberX -- the lowest-priced Uber vehicle -- will be matched with one of the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs if one is available and if the customers are willing, according to Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's Advanced Technology Group.
Facebook Investors Slam Zuckerberg, Andreessen
December 14, 2016
Facebook investors have accused director Marc Andreessen of secretly coaching CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding a major sale of shares he held. The structure of the sale enabled Zuckerberg to refocus on philanthropic activities while maintaining lifetime control over the company. The suit alleges that Andreessen secretly tipped off the CEO about concerns raised by other members of Facebook's board.
Magic Leap Catches Flak Over Tricky Video
December 13, 2016
It turns out the awe-inspiring video Magic Leap unveiled last year is not a demo of its still-secretive mixed reality technology, but a bit of sleight of hand from special effects firm Weta Workshop, which is credited at the beginning and end of the clip. Magic Leap's post -- titled "Just another day in the office at Magic Leap" -- claims the video shows a game being played around the office.
Trump, Tech Bigwigs to Meet Wednesday
December 13, 2016
Some of high-tech's heaviest hitters will be in New York City Wednesday to meet with President-elect Donald J. Trump. On the list of all-stars expected to attend the meeting are Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Oracle CEO Safra Catz. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is likely to attend as well.
Gadget Ogling: Rolling Records, Designing Lawns, and Placated Phones
December 13, 2016
RokBlok is a portable record player without a turntable. It's a block that dashes around the top of your records, and uses both its needle and built-in speaker to soundtrack your day. All you need to operate it are your records and a flat surface. If you'd like higher quality audio, you can connect it to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones. It's designed with protecting your records in mind.
What Trump Should Do With Air Force One
December 12, 2016
For the next eight or so years, I think a lot of what many of us are going to write will have something to do with what Donald Trump tweeted. Granted, since that has been the case for much of the last year, we have gotten comfortable with it. However, when Trump said he would kill the deal for an updated Air Force One, it hit me that we've completely lost track of what Air Force One should be.
Microsoft and Intel's Project Evo Ups the PC Game
December 9, 2016
Microsoft and Intel have announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in AI, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo's ambitious plans at the WinHEC event in China.
Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices
December 8, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm's Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices. The new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs.
Bill Bolsters Legal Efforts of Wells Fargo Fraud Victims
December 8, 2016
U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation to stop Wells Fargo from enforcing arbitration agreements with victims of fraud it perpetrated against them. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Rep. Brad Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Justice for Victims of Fraud Act of 2016.
SCOTUS Scuttles Apple's Big Samsung Award
December 7, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday spoiled Apple's hopes for a big payday, scotching the $399 million award in its successful patent infringement suit against Samsung. Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered the Court's decision, which turned on what lawmakers meant by the term "article of manufacture." The appeals court had ruled that it encompassed the entire phone. The Supremes disagreed.
Uber Sees Gold in Autonomous Vehicle Field
December 7, 2016
Uber has announced the acquisition of startup Geometric Intelligence, a move designed to increase its presence in the autonomous vehicle technology field. Geometric CEO Gary Marcus will become the chief of Uber's new artificial intelligence business. He will lead the newly formed Uber AI Labs, which will be dedicated to conducting research into artificial intelligence and machine learning.
How Amazon Could Reshape More Industries in 2017
December 7, 2016
Anyone who attended the recent AWS re:Invent conference -- or watched many sessions online, as I did -- probably is still trying to absorb the full implications of all of the company's initiatives unveiled at the event. Although AWS already has redefined the computing and software development industries fundamentally, with its groundbreaking IaaS offerings, it isn't resting on its laurels.
Amazon's Register-Free Grocery Shopping Could Disrupt Retail
December 6, 2016
Amazon on Monday unveiled a prototype convenience store called "Amazon Go," which uses mobile e-commerce, machine learning and computer vision to allow customers to make purchases without a cashier. The 1,800 square foot concept store in Seattle uses the company's Just Walk Out technology, which incorporates many of the same concepts found in self-driving cars, Amazon said.
Multinational Effort Halts Malware Avalanche
December 6, 2016
The DoJ on Monday released new details about the multinational takedown of Avalanche, a multimillion-dollar malware and money-laundering network, following a four-year probe led by German police and prosecutors. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song and Assistant Director Scott S. Smith of the FBI's Cyber Division made the announcement in Pittsburgh.
AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms
December 6, 2016
Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they're open-sourcing their AI platforms. After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google's DeepMind Lab said it would open the platform for the broader research community's use. DeepMind has "only barely scratched the surface of what is possible," the team said.
Facebook Videos Explain AI in a Nutshell
December 5, 2016
Facebook last week released six videos to educate people about artificial intelligence. AI will bring major changes to society, and will be the backbone of many of the most innovative apps and services of the future, but it remains mysterious, noted Yann LeCun, Facebook's director of AI research, and Joaquin Candela, the company's director of applied machine learning in an online post.
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What's your reaction to the new Nintendo Switch gaming console?
I'm excited -- can't wait to get my hands on one.
I'm mildly interested and probably will try it out.
It looks cool for the younger set but not serious gamers.
Nintendo has lost its way -- the Switch will flop.
No interest -- I'm a PlayStation fan.
No interest -- I'm an Xbox fan.
I only play games on my tablet or phone.