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FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
Google Reveals What Searchers Wanted in 2017
December 14, 2017
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in overall searches on Google this year, and No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the consumer tech search category on the Google Trends Year in Search 2017 list released Tuesday. Bitcoin ranked No. 2 in global news searches, and "how to buy bitcoin" ranked No. 3 among how-to searches on Google in 2017.
New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks
December 13, 2017
ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks. Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.
Internet Pioneers Urge Cancellation of Net Neutrality Repeal Vote
December 13, 2017
A group of 21 leading technology pioneers, including Apple Computer cofounder Steve Wozniak and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, signed an open letter to key congressional leaders asking them to pressure FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel Thursday's planned vote to repeal Net neutrality. The process is severely flawed, they argued, and a rules repeal poses an imminent threat to the Internet.
Net Neutrality Battle Lines Drawn as FCC Vote Looms
December 5, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's long-brewing plan to repeal Net neutrality has the broadband, telecom and entertainment worlds at loggerheads. The commission's expected Dec. 14 vote could result in a complete rewrite of the script for the Internet's competitive landscape and consumer protection models. The repeal of Net neutrality would end restrictions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015.
3 Ways to Buff Up Your Website and Do More Business
December 4, 2017
Let's face it: Your website is central to your e-commerce business. Upgrading your website is one of the most important things you can do to bring in new customers and sell more products. Sometimes, though, it's difficult to know exactly how to improve your site. To help you out with that dilemma, here are three ways to refresh your website and boost your business without breaking the bank.
AWS Gives IoT a Boost With New OS, Services
December 2, 2017
AWS shone a spotlight on IoT and machine learning technologies earlier this week, with the announcement of a new operating system and several new services designed to encourage radical expansion of their deployment and use across multiple industries. The new OS, Amazon FreeRTOS, simplifies development, deployment, security and maintenance of microcontroller-based edge devices, according AWS.
Snapchat Draws Bright Line Between 'Social' and 'Media'
November 30, 2017
Snap aims to combat fake news on Snapchat by separating content from professional creators from postings by friends and family. Stories and Chats from friends will appear on the left side of the camera, while Stories from content creators, publishers and other members of the community will appear on the right side. Snapchat aims to disentangle "social" from "media," noted Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.
Risky Scripts Pose Threat to Web Surfers, Say Researchers
November 28, 2017
A popular technique used by website operators to observe the keystrokes, mouse movements and scrolling behavior of visitors on Web pages is fraught with risk. The technique offered by a number of service providers uses scripts to capture the activity of a visitor on a Web page, store it on the provider's servers, and play it back on demand for a website's operators.
BlackBerry: The Most Important Mobile Company of the Future?
November 20, 2017
If you are like many, when you saw this headline you likely were surprised BlackBerry was still around. As BlackBerry phones left the market, the company fell out of sight. However, behind the scenes it has been moving into industries like automotive. Also, it remains the leading vendor providing mobile security to our politicians, military personnel and major corporations.
Newly Revealed Flaw Could Subject IoT Devices to Airborne Attacks
November 17, 2017
Billions of voice-activated IoT devices may be subject to external attack due to BlueBorne vulnerabilities, Armis revealed. Hackers could exploit BlueBorne to mount an airborne attack, using Bluetooth to spread malware and access critical data, including sensitive personal information. More than 20 million Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers could have been impacted by the flaws.
Google Gives Job Searchers Salary, Location Details
November 16, 2017
Google on Wednesday announced the addition of new functionality for its recently launched job search portal, including features that display salary range and street-level location information. Salary information -- among the things users have requested most, according to Google -- will improve the likelihood of matching qualified applicants with the jobs they desire.
New Firefox Runs Like a Rabbit
November 15, 2017
New version releases of browsers don't get the buzz they used to get, but Firefox Quantum is an exception. The latest version of the Mozilla Foundation's browser, released Tuesday, is all about performance. Firefox is twice as fast as it was a year ago, Mozilla claimed. It is not only fast on startup -- it remains zippy even when taxed by multitudes of tabs.
Amazon Denies Rumored Plans for Ad-Supported Prime Video Service
November 14, 2017
Amazon has denied a report that it has been working on a free, ad-supported video platform to complement its subscription-based Amazon Prime Video service. Amazon has been in talks with various television networks, movie studios and other media entities about providing content to the site, according to the Monday report. Such a service would place Amazon in direct competition with Apple.
Why Are Tech Companies Trying to Kill Us?
November 13, 2017
This is the question that keeps me up at night after seeing the news of Russian influence through social media, and the rapid rise of road deaths due to smartphone use. I wonder if the executives in these firms understand not only that dead customers don't generate revenue, but also that some of the victims could end up being their own kids, spouses or parents.
Amazon Cloud Cam Joins Burgeoning Smart-Home Ecosystem
November 9, 2017
Amazon has begun shipping its latest smart home product, a security camera that works with its Alexa personal assistant and Echo speakers. The Amazon Cloud Cam allows customers to live-stream activity inside their home 24/7. It features 1080p full HD resolution, two-way audio for communicating with family members or pets, night vision technology, and sophisticated identification algorithms.
High Price Undercuts Microsoft's Xbox One X Mic Drop
November 8, 2017
Microsoft has released its long-anticipated and much-hyped Xbox One X console, promising to push the boundaries of modern gaming and video entertainment. It is the most powerful console in the world, with up to 40 percent more power than existing devices on the market, the company claimed. Xbox One X gamers can choose from 1,300 gaming titles -- the largest lineup in company history.
Facebook Messenger Jumps to Business Websites
November 8, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday announced that it was preparing a plugin to its popular Messenger platform that will allow a website's visitors to chat with a human or bot without leaving the location. Customer Chat is one of a number of changes in the version 2.2 update of Messenger platform revealed at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The chat plugin will be available on desktop and mobile devices.
Call of Duty WWII Kicks Off Holiday Season With a Bang
November 4, 2017
Activision's Call of Duty WWII has made its long-awaited debut with a splash, kicking off what is expected to be a robust holiday season for the gaming industry. The most anticipated multiplatform title of the season, based on the Nielsen Game Rank, Call of Duty WWII latest installment reaches back to the iconic gaming franchise's origins.
Razer Debuts Cutting-Edge Mobile Gaming Phone
November 3, 2017
Razer has unveiled its Razer Phone, a handset that clearly targets gamers. It boasts the world's first 120 Hz Ultramotion display, which has the potential to deliver fast refresh rates and provide the smoothest graphics available on a mobile smartphone. "It's common knowledge that I'm obsessed with my smartphones. I play a ton of games on them," said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.
Sonar Could Help Devs Build a Better Website
October 31, 2017
Microsoft's Sonar, released under an open source license, could help developers build more effective and secure websites. Sonar, a linting tool and site scanner, is the next evolution of the static scan tool, according to Microsoft. The team that developed Microsoft's Edge browser created Sonar as a better way for website maintainers to check performance and security issues.
Fake News: Amazon Wants a Key to Your House
October 30, 2017
I'm getting tired of headlines that present something you might want to do as something you'd have to be crazy to do. Last week was a case in point: Headline after headline shouted out that Amazon wanted to get a key to your house. The initial reaction was hell no -- but the reality is far more nuanced. You see, there are a lot of folks who live in places where their front entrance isn't secure.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Taking the News Out of Facebook's News Feed Could Hurt Publishers
October 25, 2017
A new feature that Facebook recently has been testing in a handful of countries could hurt publishers everywhere if it should roll out globally. The feature removes users' Liked pages from their main News Feed and aggregates them in a separate space called "Explore." In the six countries where Facebook has been testing the idea, traffic to news outlets reportedly has dropped 60-80 percent.
Harman Kardon's Cortana-Powered Smart Speaker Underwhelms
October 21, 2017
Early reviews of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana -- the smart speaker that features Microsoft's personal assistant -- have been lukewarm at best. The speaker will be available in the U.S. starting Sunday. Like Amazon's Echo line and Google's Home speakers, Invoke lets users play music, manage calendars, set reminders, check traffic, get news reports, and control other smart home devices.
PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies
October 20, 2017
PayPal has announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family. PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot. Payments can be made in Messenger by pressing the blue plus icon when composing a message and then tapping the green payments button.
Apple, GE Join Forces on Industrial IoT Apps
October 19, 2017
Apple and General Electric on Wednesday announced a new software development kit for iOS that enables developers to create applications for Predix, an Internet of Things platform made by GE. Applications developed with the new SDK could give industrial operators more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations on an iPhone or iPad.
Evolution of the 4th Utility: Fixed Broadband
October 17, 2017
In-home broadband has become "the fourth utility" in United States households, many of which have multiple connected devices and viewing screens. More than 85 percent of U.S. homes have broadband service, according to Parks Associates, 93 percent of those have DSL, fiber or cable high-speed, fixed-line Internet services. Fixed broadband demand is a key contributor to operators' ongoing profits.
Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
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What is the most consequential impact of social media on society today?
It has opened up valuable new channels for civil discourse.
It has destroyed the meaning of "truth" and "fact."
It has made people stronger by facilitating grass roots activism.
It has deepened divisions among groups with opposing views.
It has made it easier for people to support and help each other.
It has made it easier for people to humiliate and hurt each other.