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Government COVID-19 Responses: 3 Massive Mistakes, 1 Huge Success
April 6, 2020
People don't trust their governments for a good reason. Governments lie to them regularly. In the ongoing COVID-19 event, we in the U.S. initially were told that there was little risk. The first 15 people who came to the U.S. with the virus soon would get well. We were advised to go about our day -- and many people did. They got on planes, departed for cruises, and went about their lives.
How to Turn an Old Android Device Into a Cool, Useful Gadget
April 2, 2020
What do you do with your old Android phones or tablets? That question usually prompts three tired answers. You might trade them in for a new purchase. Or you could resell them on eBay. Probably, though, you will just stuff them in a drawer as emergency backups. Better options exist, however, that would let you continue to get value from your aging devices.
Zoom's Soaring Popularity Is a Double-Edged Sword
April 1, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened in the U.S., Zoom Video Communications offered free access to its videoconferencing platform and demand skyrocketed. "Zoom has quickly become the de facto for teleconferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic," said James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. "A lot of organizations are using it to keep in contact with their employees."
3 Things the Tech Industry Could Do to Mitigate Pandemic Problems
March 16, 2020
We are up to our armpits in COVID-19, also known as "coronavirus," concerns. While the technology market could be devastated by it, there are several things tech players could do to mitigate the damage. Aside from having people work from home and stand six feet apart, the industry could take several innovative steps to mitigate the first manageable pandemic in the world's history.
Twitter Tiptoes Into Battle to Curb Social Media Misinformation
March 10, 2020
Twitter applied its "manipulative media" label to a deceptively edited video showing presidential hopeful Joe Biden saying, "re-elect Donald Trump" -- the first time the service enforced rules adopted to control synthetic and manipulated media. The flagged video was posted to Twitter by Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, and retweeted by the president.
COVID-19 and the End of Daily Life as We Know It
March 9, 2020
We apparently have no immunity to COVID-19, and a vaccine likely is around 18 months away. It takes a while to change human behavior, but if we go a full 18 months or more with people working from home and avoiding places like malls, big box stores, and other areas where people congregate -- like offices and events -- it will force a fundamental, permanent change in the way we work and interact.
The Virus and Podcasting
March 7, 2020
The coronavirus scare is working its way through the economy -- even affecting CRM. At this point some vendors are canceling events rather than taking the risk of having thousands of customers, press and analysts descend on a city, swap microbes through the air for a few days, then go home and likely further spread the microbes, some of which could be the virus.
Study: YouTube Achieves Some Success at Hobbling Conspiracy Theories
March 3, 2020
YouTube's efforts to reduce the spread of conspiracy theories on the platform appear to be bearing fruit. YouTube "significantly reduced the overall volume of recommended conspiratorial content," three researchers wrote in a study from the University of California, Berkeley. The team spent 15 months studying 8 million recommendations from the platform's next-watch algorithm.
Microsoft Releases 'Mind Blowing' Xbox Specs
February 25, 2020
Microsoft whetted demand for its Xbox Series X product line with the revelation of some impressive specs for its next-generation gaming console. "It's really going to be a kick in the pants for the industry," said Mark N. Vena, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "It should provide quite a bit of adrenalin because the specs are really mind blowing."
Samsung Scores With 5G Galaxy S20's Camera Specs, New Z Flip
February 12, 2020
Samsung has refreshed its Galaxy smartphone line, introduced a new foldable phone, and upgraded its wireless earbuds offering. Its three new flagship phones are all 5G ready. The S20 is priced at $999, while the S20 Plus will sell for $1,199, and the S20 Ultra for $1,399. The S20 is smallest of the trio, with a 6.2-inch display. The Plus' display is 6.7 inches and the Ultra's is 6.9 inches.
Oops - Google May Have Sent Your Embarrassing Private Video to a Stranger
February 5, 2020
Google misdirected a number of private videos that users of its Google Photos app intended to back up to Google Takeout, sending them instead to strangers' archives. The company emailed affected users to inform them that a technical issue caused the error. Google recommended that affected users back up their content again and delete their previous backup.
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
DoubleTake App Turns Your iPhone Into a Multi-Cam Studio
January 29, 2020
A new iPhone app allows you to capture two high-quality video streams simultaneously from any of the mobile device's cameras. Called "DoubleTake," the free software is produced by FiLMiC, which also makes a pro style video capture and editing app for the iPhone. With DoubleTake, you can shoot two 1080p video streams at the same time, in either landscape or portrait mode.
Could Ads Become Potent Weapons Against Streaming Piracy?
January 24, 2020
Though it no longer grabs many headlines, video piracy remains a major issue for pay-TV services, according to consumer research firm Parks Associates. If just 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers should discontinue paying for services by 2023, the loss in revenue to operators could approach $6 billion, according to the firm's report, "Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks, and Impact."
Cosmos: Possible Worlds - A Lavish, Hopeful Journey
January 22, 2020
We agree to suspend our disbelief, and they agree to entertain us. Perhaps it inspires us by communicating some kernel of wisdom about human nature. Its story may touch our emotions deeply, but we know it's the product of imagination and artistry. Cosmos: Possible Worlds delivers everything a great science fiction movie delivers, except the fiction.
Know Your Enemy: The Difficulty of Defining Deepfakes
January 21, 2020
Facebook recently promised that it would increase efforts to remove so-called "deepfake" videos, including content that included "misleading manipulated media." In addition to fears that deepfakes -- altered videos that appear to be authentic -- could impact the upcoming 2020 general election in the United States, there are growing concerns that they could ruin reputations and impact businesses.
Facebook to Kick Out Some Deepfakes
January 8, 2020
Facebook has promised to remove certain "misleading manipulated media": videos edited or synthesized in ways that likely would mislead viewers to believe that video subjects said words they did not say; products of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merge, combine, replace, or superimpose content onto a video, creating a fake video that appears to be authentic.
Disney+ Is a Wonderful World for Tykes and Geeks
November 21, 2019
Disney+ has made its official debut, with a few minor hiccups. It is widely available via a plethora of devices, offers a breadth of content, and serves quick and seamless downloads to mobile devices. However, with a heavy focus on Disney animated films, Marvel superhero movies and Star Wars, this service might not be quite the Netflix killer that the Walt Disney Company claims it is.
Disney+ Launches New Era of Streaming, With a Few Hiccups
November 14, 2019
The much-anticipated Disney+ streaming service has arrived. In the first 24 hours, the app was downloaded 3.2 million times. Demand for the new over-the-top streaming service prompted the company to announced that it had exceeded its highest expectations -- but with problematic results. Many users were unable to launch the app on its huge opening day.
New YouTube Terms of Service Create Stir
November 12, 2019
Google has published changes to YouTube's Terms of Service Agreement that have stoked fears among some users. "YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account's access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable," the new ToSA states. Many creators are deeply concerned over the prospect of YouTube changing its practices.
Researchers Use Lasers to Hack Smart Speakers
November 6, 2019
University researchers have discovered a way to issue unauthorized commands to digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal and Siri via laser beams. The microphones in devices like smart speakers, mobile phones and tablets convert sound into electrical signals, but what the researchers found was that the mics react to light aimed directly at them, too.
Voice Commerce: It's a Natural
November 5, 2019
Consumers increasingly are shopping by voice rather than typing on a keyboard or searching on a phone. People are growing more comfortable with voice assistants, as the tech becomes smarter and more conversational every day. "Consumers appreciate the simplicity of using voice to shop," said Shilp Agarwal, CEO of Blutag. "Users can express their purchasing intent much more quickly over voice."
Evidence of War Crimes Vanishing From Social Media
November 1, 2019
A controversy has erupted over YouTube's practice of taking down videos with graphically violent content, which also may be evidence of recent war crimes. YouTube's policy -- similar to other social media platforms -- has been to remove content that contains hate speech, disinformation or disturbing images. In the past, social media services have been called out for failing to do enough.
Active Noise Cancellation a Big Draw in New Apple AirPods
October 30, 2019
Active Noise Cancellation is just one of the hot new features in the latest generation of Apple's AirPods. The new AirPods Pro, which go on sale Wednesday for $249, combine earbud microphones with software to remove background noise and improve a user's listening experience. An outward-facing mic on the bud collects environmental sound for analysis.
E-Gurus: Online Guides to Personal Growth
October 25, 2019
The personal and professional growth coaching industry is exploding, thanks in part to the accessibility afforded by the Internet and digital technologies. People who want to improve themselves are flocking to Skype sessions, online classes, Facebook groups, and other venues to work with life and performance coaches, get career advice, and network with other seekers.
GoPro Max 360 Wins Reviewers' Plaudits
October 23, 2019
GoPro has begun taking preorders for its $500 360-degree camera, the Max 360. It has two 180-degree lenses that can capture 360-degree stills at 16.6 megapixels, single lens shots with a 4:3 aspect ratio at 5.5 megapixels, and arresting 270-degree "PowerPanos" at 6.2 megapixels. For video, it can capture 1440p at 60 frames-per-second with a single lens and 5.6k spherical clips at 30 fps.
Smart Speaker Apps Caught Snooping Around Homes
October 22, 2019
Flaws in Amazon and Google smart speakers can expose users to eavesdropping and voice phishing. Researchers at Security Research Labs discovered that developers could create malicious apps for the Amazon and Google platforms to turn the smart speakers into smart spies. Using the standard development interfaces for the platforms, the researchers found a way to request and collect personal data.
Google Rolls Out Pixel 4 Phone, Pixelbook, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds
October 16, 2019
A new flagship smartphone, a slick refresh of Pixelbook Go, some home gadget improvements and a revamp of its wireless earbuds highlighted Google's annual hardware event in New York City. The latest models of Google's flagship smartphone, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, base priced at $799 and $899 respectively, will have wider distribution, as they'll be available from all major U.S. carriers.
Sonos Launches Rent-a-Speaker Pilot Program
October 8, 2019
Subscription models have taken hold in everything from software to smartphones, and now Sonos is testing the idea in the premium wireless speaker market. The Santa Barbara, California, company has launched a pilot program limited to 500 homes in the Netherlands, which allows consumers to gain access to Sonos hardware for the equivalent of about $16.46 a month.
Ballmer's Vindication: Microsoft Launches 5 Apple-Killer Surface Products
October 7, 2019
One of the last major initiatives former CEO Steve Ballmer launched before he left Microsoft was its Surface effort. It was designed to address the concern that the iPod would take over the PC world. During the Surface launch last week, it wasn't hard to see that Ballmer was right conceptually. It just took Satya Nadella to execute, showcasing that Ballmer didn't have a strategic problem.
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Which of these technologies has the pandemic caused you to increase using the most?
e-commerce
gaming
online news
social networking
streaming entertainment
texting
videoconferencing