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Google Fine-Tunes Self-Driving Cars' Kid Perception
November 2, 2015
Google last week announced that it has developed technology for its self-driving vehicles that would be able to detect people in costumes -- presumably children dressed for Halloween. The company is teaching its cars to drive more cautiously around children and thus be ready to adapt to sudden and even erratic movement, as children's behavior can be unpredictable.
Google Migrates Project Loon to Indonesia
October 30, 2015
Project Loon, part of Google's parent company, Alphabet, on Wednesday announced that it has signed agreements with three mobile network operators in Indonesia -- Indosat, Telkomse, and XL Axiata -- to begin tests of its balloon-powered Internet service in 2016. Only about one in three of Indonesia's 250 million residents is connected to the Internet, according to Project Loon.
Apple TV Reviews: Kinda Buggy, Kinda Great
October 29, 2015
The latest version of Apple's streaming media set-top box has gathered a bundle of mixed early reviews. Some reviewers saw great potential in the $149 diminutive black box designed to pump movies, TV shows, games and apps from the Internet to a television set. Others found plenty to criticize. "I was a little shocked to see how buggy it was," wrote David Pogue.
Nintendo's Miitomo Smartphone 'Game' Fails to Charm Investors
October 29, 2015
Nintendo shares dropped 9 percent on Thursday, and partner DeNA's stock dropped 15 percent after Nintendo announced that it would wade into the mobile waters next year with social mobile app Miitomo. Based on the Mii digital avatars made popular by the Wii, Miitomo will seek to connect players through trivia, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima reportedly said.
Sony Talks VR and 2016 Games in Paris
October 29, 2015
While Microsoft has been driving home the potential hits it has for the holidays, Sony has sat silent. That changed this week at Paris Games Week, when Sony set the tone for the next year or so by touting 21 games poised to redefine the PlayStation 4 experience. It put on a console-selling show that evidenced the potential of the latest PlayStation and the upcoming PlayStation VR headset.
Library of Congress Brings Digital Rights Rules Into Modern Era
October 29, 2015
The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, on Wednesday published new rules to replace a set of controversial -- and for many, outdated -- measures. Consumers now may hack their own tablet computers, automobile software and Blu-ray devices without fear of being sued. The ruling upgrades certain provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Europe's New Net Neutrality Law Draws Jeers
October 28, 2015
The European Parliament on Tuesday passed Net neutrality legislation to a chorus of boos from Net neutrality proponents. The European Union has found consensus on the common principles of Net neutrality -- no blocking, no throttling and no prepaid prioritization -- said Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger. However, the rules have three major loopholes, Net neutrality supporters said.
SXSW May Put Online Harassment in the Spotlight
October 28, 2015
SXSW Interactive reportedly might include a daylong event on combating online harassment. The news followed SXSW's cancellation of two planned panels that were expected to focus on opposite ends of the Gamergate debate. Threats of on-site violence spurred the decision to cancel both panels, according to SXSW officials. However, that decision immediately drew fire.
Qualcomm Unveils Muscle Camera for Surveillance Systems
October 28, 2015
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced a muscle video camera for surveillance systems. Part of the company's Snapdragon 618 IP camera platform, it combines a six-core, 64-bit processor; next-generation graphics crunching; and embedded digital signal processing. The unit can perform advanced video analytics, which can reduce cloud processing and storage costs provide more reliable analytics, Qualcomm said.
CISA Passes Senate Despite Privacy Advocates' Fear and Loathing
October 28, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 74-21 to pass the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, in the face of strong opposition from legal and cybersecurity experts, the high-tech industry, privacy and civil liberties organizations, and members of the public. The Act calls for several federal agencies to share cyberthreat indicators between the public and private sectors.
Walmart Catches the Drone Delivery Bug
October 28, 2015
Walmart on Monday filed a request with the Federal Aviation Administration to begin deploying commercial drones to transport goods from outside vendors to its distribution centers, as well as to customers' homes. The company, which has been testing drones in indoor flights, wanted an exemption in order to deploy small unmanned aircraft systems, wrote Walmart VP Shekar Natarajan.
Microsoft Opens Tony Fifth Avenue Store
October 27, 2015
Microsoft on Monday opened its flagship store in Manhattan. At more than 22,000 square feet, it's the company's largest store and its 113th brick-and-mortar retail establishment. It's also the first Microsoft store that's two stories high. The company gutted a 1930s building that was previously a Fendi store and replaced the street-facing facade with giant glass panes.
Apple Fans to Get Their Hands on New Apple TV This Week
October 27, 2015
Apple on Monday opened up advanced orders for the next generation of Apple TV. The set-top boxes are expected to hit homes between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3. It's offering two versions: A 32-GB version is priced at $149 and a 64-GB model is $50 more. With Apple TV losing ground to newcomers to the streaming hardware market, the company has given its set-top box a booster shot: a syringe containing Siri.
NY AG Could Be Broadband-Speed Mythbuster
October 26, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. The purpose of the probe is to determine whether three of the state's top telecom companies are providing high-speed broadband Internet as advertised to consumers and businesses. The probe was launched in response to consumer complaints on the issue.
Starting a Startup: Tips for Budding E-Commerce Entrepreneurs
October 26, 2015
So you're thinking of starting an e-commerce business. It's an exciting prospect, but it can be daunting. How do you even begin? How can you ensure that your startup gets past being a startup? It's important to understand one thing about e-commerce: Just because it's online doesn't mean it's easy. With that in mind, here are a few tips to get you going with your enterprise.
Google Views Itself Through Machine Learning Lens
October 26, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week lit up his first earnings call with accounts of a solid third quarter and machine learning dreams that could permeate all the company's products. As the call drew to a close, investors asked about the vision for machine learning. Google has been rethinking everything it has been doing, and doing so through the transformative field of machine learning, he said.
Gadget Ogling: A Deluxe Dock, a Crafty Computer, and a T-rific Tablet Stand
October 24, 2015
Beddi is an alarm clock smartphone dock that has a few tricks to elevate it above others of its ilk. The system, from Witti, works with both iOS and Android devices, which you place on top and recharge with your own cable. Two things are really interesting: the price and the programmable buttons. As for the latter, that means using Bluetooth to pair your smartphone with Beddi's companion app.
Digital Assistants Sap Drivers' Attention
October 23, 2015
Up to 27 seconds of residual distraction trails use of digital assistant software and infotainment systems in automobiles, the University of Utah reported Thursday. The report follows a similar set of studies done last year that concluded that infotainment systems distract drivers. This time, researchers looked at the aftereffects of driving while using infotainment systems and digital assistants.
Key EU Court Ruling Gives Bitcoin Tax-Exempt Status
October 23, 2015
The European Union's Court of Justice on Thursday ruled that bitcoin, the virtual payment system that has shown promise and potential as an emerging currency, should be considered exempt from Value Added Tax under existing law. Swedish national David Hedqvist sought a ruling from the Swedish Revenue Law Commission to determine whether bitcoin should be subject to VAT.
Researcher's Demo Sheds Doubt on Fitbit Security
October 23, 2015
Fortinet security researcher Axelle Apvrille demonstrated Wednesday in a presentation at the Hack.lu conference in Luxembourg. Apvrille showed how it was possible to access a Fitbit's Bluetooth connection and, in a mere 10 seconds, infect it with a malicious packet that later could be used to infect a PC, a feat she demoed earlier this month at a hacker conference in Budapest.
Magic Leap: Now You See It
October 22, 2015
There are no special effects in the augmented reality demo it shared on Tuesday, Magic Leap said. The video, which shows imaginary objects blended into a real-world setting, was shot using Magic Leap's augmented reality technology, the company proclaimed. Details about Magic Leap's AR headset have been sparse thus far, but CEO Rony Abovitz dropped a bit more this week.
System 76 Unleashes Wild Dog Pro
October 21, 2015
System 76 has announced its latest desktop release, Wild Dog Pro, with a range of high-end customizable configurations to enhance video editing and media creation, software engineering, CAD, and high-end performance for demanding games. It comes preinstalled with Ubuntu 15.10, and the default desktop environment is Unity. However, users can install other Linux distros and desktop environments.
Tesla Stock Plummets After Consumer Reports Do-Over
October 21, 2015
Tesla Motors' stock price on Tuesday dropped more than 11 percent following Consumer Reports' withdrawal of its favorable recommendation for the company's Model S sedan. Poor reliability contributed to the decision to withdraw its recommendation, but the magazine noted that 97 percent of Tesla owners surveyed said they would buy a car from the company again despite the problems.
Healthcare Sector Security Woefully Weak, Survey Says
October 21, 2015
The healthcare industry has become the favorite playground for many cybercriminals, suggests a report Trustwave released earlier this month. Of the 398 full-time healthcare professionals surveyed, 91 percent of information technology respondents and 77 percent of nontechnical respondents believed criminals increasingly were targeting healthcare organizations.
Report: Cybersecurity Pact Fails to Deter Chinese Hackers
October 20, 2015
The cybersecurity pact the U.S. and China agreed to last month apparently has not stopped Chinese hackers from trying to steal intellectual property from U.S. companies. "Over the last three weeks, CrowdStrike Falcon platform has detected and prevented a number of intrusions into our customers' systems from actors we have affiliated with the Chinese government," said CTO Dmitri Alperovitch.
MIT Machine Does Big Data Analysis the Human Way
October 20, 2015
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week announced they had developed an algorithmic system to analyze big data that eventually might replace humans. The system, called the "Data Science Machine," designs the feature set and searches for patterns in big data. The DSM's first prototype was 96 percent as accurate as the winning submission by a human team in one competition to find predictive patterns in unfamiliar data sets.
Amazon Throws the Book at Fake Review Writers
October 20, 2015
An "unhealthy ecosystem" has developed outside of Amazon and it has been harming the company's website, Amazon said in a complaint filed last week in Washington State Superior Court. The suit alleges that 1,114 "John Does" placed fake product reviews on the company's website. The perpetrators apparently have been selling reviews through Fiverr, for as little as $5 each.
NX Leaks Hint at Nintendo Comeback
October 20, 2015
Nintendo reportedly has started to distribute software development kits for its next game console. The company hasn't laid out in detail the ecosystem of third-party software that it plans to build around its upcoming console, code-named "NX," but it plans to integrate it with a digital platform for smartphones, tablets, PCs and its own hardware. The NX will employ "industry-leading chips."
Google's Nexus 6P and 5X Win Some Love
October 19, 2015
The reviews are out for Google's Nexus 6P and 5X, unveiled late last month, and they can be summed up in two words: Love them! They're described as "the best Nexus devices ever produced" and "Google's answer to Apple's iPhones," but those tired phrases are rolled out with every new Nexus or flagship Android smartphone, so what else is new? The camera, for one.
Nintendo, Video Game Industry Rescuer, Turns 30
October 19, 2015
The Nintendo Entertainment System turned 30 years old on Sunday, and though it no longer leads the console pack, the entire video game industry owes a lot to its three decades of development. Its predecessor, introduced in Japan two years earlier as the Famicom, or Family Computer, was massively successful there. However, retailers in North America were leery of introducing a new gaming console.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.