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May 23, 2019
the proposed t-mobile-sprint merger has won fcc approval but the doj may be holding out for stronger concessions
United States Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week gave the green light to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, currently the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers respectively. The nation's top telecom regulator agreed to the $26 billion merger, but with some conditions -- the most notable being that Sprint would sell off its Boost Mobile prepaid cellphone brand. [More...]

May 22, 2019
usps and tusimple will conduct a pilot project using self-driving trucks to haul mail
The U.S. Postal Service has announced a pilot project using self-driving trucks. It will conduct the two-week experiment in collaboration with TuSimple, an autonomous driving technology company based in San Diego. TuSimple's contract with the postal service calls for one of the company's self-driving trucks to make five round trips hauling USPS trailers between Dallas and Phoenix. [More...]

May 21, 2019
5g wireless infrastructure could interfere with the accuracy of weather forecasting systems
Next-generation 5G mobile communications technology could have a harmful impact on weather forecasting in the United States, based on expert testimony presented before a U.S. House committee during a hearing on the future of weather forecasting. Interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of weather forecasts by 30 percent, said Neil Jacobs, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA. [More...]

May 20, 2019
lenovo accelerate highlighted a line of future products that could change pc design as we know it
I went to Lenovo Accelerate last week and feasted my eyes on one of the most innovative PCs I've ever seen. However, as I absorbed the rest of Lenovo's announcements, I realized I was looking at just the tip of what could be a significant coming change in personal computers -- one that could eclipse every change we have seen so far. Lenovo's "one more thing" is a coming foldable screen laptop. [More...]

May 17, 2019
artificial intelligence may take over many employee tasks especially if there's an economic downturn
Shoppers soon might see a lot more robots in Walmart stores -- but not toy robots or even human assistant gadgets that are available for purchase. Walmart's new robots will be taking over repeatable, predictable and manual tasks that up to now have been carried out by human employees. At Walmart stores, robots will scan shelf inventory and track boxes as part of its inventory management. [More...]

May 17, 2019
there are good budgeting tools compatible with linux systems but they might not be free
Budget apps for Linux are part of a software category that has been all but abandoned. But take heart. A number of Web-based solutions will more than meet your budget-tracking needs. However, do not mix the concept of open source with free. If you want an actual free budget program that works well with your flavor of Linux OS, a Web-based offering may your only option. [More...]

May 16, 2019
patches have been issued for new flaws discovered in intel cpus but they could hamper performance
The high-tech industry once again is in a tizzy over flaws discovered in Intel CPUs -- four new MDS vulnerabilities have come to light. MDS is a sub-class of previously disclosed vulnerabilities that sample data leaked from small structures within the CPU using a locally executed speculative execution side channel. The practical exploitation of MDS flaws is a very complex undertaking, however. [More...]

May 16, 2019
plumbing the bitcoin depths offers a multitude of rewards for amateur data scientists
It would have been reasonable for those attending Josh Bressers' session at CypherCon -- myself included -- to expect a presentation by a cryptocurrency expert. It was billed as a talk about plumbing the depths of the bitcoin blockchain. When Bressers admitted that his material grew out of a hobby, I was surprised. Still, the talk was far from disappointing. [More...]

May 15, 2019
a software bug allowed sophisticated spyware to gain full access to whatsapp users' phones
Many users of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging software are scrambling to patch the program in response to news of a flaw that allowed spyware to be installed on mobile phones running Android and iOS. "This new type of attack is deeply worrying and shows how even the most trusted mobile apps and platforms can be vulnerable," said Mike Campin, vice president of engineering at Wandera. [More...]

May 14, 2019
the us supreme court has ruled that a class action lawsuit charging apple with abusing its monopoly power may proceed
The U.S. Supreme Court has given thumbs up for a class action antitrust lawsuit to proceed against Apple for alleged monopolistic practices at its App Store. In the case, Apple Inc. v. Pepper et al., the consumer plaintiffs maintain the Cupertino, California, company has monopolized the retail market for the sale of apps, and that it used its position to charge higher-than-competitive prices. [More...]

May 13, 2019
google and microsoft have launched new customer-focused initiatives while apple maintains lock-in strategy
Apple, Google and Microsoft are three very powerful companies. Two of them had big events last week -- Google I/O and Microsoft Build. What I found interesting was that both Google and Microsoft largely were on the same page about focusing on the customer. Both Google and Microsoft have been making massive advancements with AI. Both have increased their efforts to make the world a better place. [More...]

May 10, 2019
baltimore city computers have been hijacked by ransomware for the second time in less than a year
Baltimore officials have admitted that the city government once again has been victimized by ransomware -- the second such attack in just over a year. City computers reportedly were infected with the RobinHood ransomware virus. Hackers told city officials that they would unlock the computers in return for payment of three bitcoins per system, or 13 bitcoins for the entire system. [More...]

May 10, 2019
The Elive distro's integration of the Debian Linux base and the Enlightenment desktop is a powerful combination. Together, they offer a unique computing platform that is powerful and flexible. Elive is not like most Linux distributions. It does not have a team of workers supporting multiple desktop offerings cranking out frequent upgrades each year. It also does not have a thriving community. [More...]

May 9, 2019
google has introduced the pixel 3a smartphone with high-end features at a modest pricepoint
Google's Pixel 3a smartphone, launched at Google's 2019 I/O developer conference, has wowed reviewers with the quality of its photos and other features, as well as its low price. "I like the direction Google is taking with the 3a," said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. "While it removes some of the features and functionalities of its cousins, it still retains the key ones." [More...]

May 9, 2019
microsoft is targeting developers with its its own linux kernel and a windows command line terminal
Microsoft has announced that its own full Linux kernel will power WSL2, the newest version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This marks the first time that Microsoft will include the Linux kernel as a component in Windows. Microsoft also introduced a Windows command line terminal that will add functionality to PowerShell and WSL. Both are intended primarily for developers. [More...]

Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.