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A Mini Browser War in Linux
December 14, 2020
Two new Web browsing alternatives widen the field of browser choices for Linux users. The recent introduction of Microsoft Edge for Linux, and the Dec. 8 release of Vivaldi version 3.5 offer the freedom to experience a Google-free vehicle to navigate the Internet. Edge on Linux has the potential for widespread adoption. Proprietary Vivaldi is already well established on Linux and other platforms.
A Momentous Week for 4 Tech Vendors
November 2, 2020
Powerful events and product launches by Cisco, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Qualcomm promise to make our future brighter. From more effective courts and legislators, to flexible and intelligent robots, to tools we can use to improve remote productivity, to validation that our justice system works -- last week was remarkable.
Zoom Beefs Up User Security With End-To-End Encryption
October 28, 2020
Zoom gave its users a big security upgrade Monday when it rolled out end-to-end encryption for its online meetings network. E2EE puts control of the keys for scrambling data in the hands of meeting organizers. Before the E2EE rollout, encryption was done on Zoom's servers, where someone with access to those servers could intercept the data. When used correctly, E2EE can make it difficult for even the best-resourced intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on communication.
G Suite Rebranded as Google Workspace
October 7, 2020
Google has announced its rebranding of G Suite as Google Workspace, along with its newly integrated desktop environment that is designed for enhanced collaboration and communications, marking its latest bid to challenge Microsoft 365. Google Cloud officials said the Workspace environment will create a new user experience that integrates meetings, docs, messaging and tasks in a more productive, secure and collaborative environment.
Zoom's Got Game for Poker Players
October 6, 2020
Welcome to the new phenomenon of playing Zoom poker. It is a novel idea that is catching on as the pandemic continues. The video platform has become a popular solution for friends who miss their regular in-person poker games. It adds the missing element of banter and social interactions that playing cards and other table games alone on a computer just cannot provide.
New Service Relays Customer Texts to In-Store Phone Lines
September 29, 2020
Curbside pickup has become a necessary option to offer customers since the onslaught of COVID-19. In fact, some shoppers will not consider doing business with a retailer or restaurant that does not offer curbside service. The TextMeAnywhere solution helps make the associated logistics to service curbside easier to execute for small businesses.
Credential Harvesting Attacks Take Aim at Video Meeting Apps
August 27, 2020
Users of video conference tools should be aware of the growing risk of impersonation attacks. Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the exponential increase of users turning to Zoom and other platforms to collaborate across work and friend networks. Researchers have identified attacks stemming from Australia, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere.
DHS Brings Web App to Coronavirus Fight
July 7, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security, through its Science & Technology Directorate, has released a web app to help predict the decay rate of coronavirus in the air. The tool, entitled "Estimated Airborne Decay of SARS-CoV-2," accounts for the ambient temperature, relative humidity, and UV index in an outdoor environment to determine how much exposure time is required to "inactivate" certain proportions of aerosolized coronavirus.
Brave Browser Caught Redirecting URLs for Cash
June 9, 2020
A browser that has received plaudits for privacy protection has been exposed for redirecting Web searches to make money. Brave, a browser with some 15 million monthly users, has been redirecting searches for cryptocurrency companies to links that produce revenue for the browser's owners through advertising affiliate programs. Brave CEO Brendan Eich said the company would correct the "mistake."
Back to the RSS Future
June 5, 2020
For understandable reasons, people feel worn down by the volume and composition of the media coming at them. This fatigue stems from a few compounding factors. There is a strong perception that the character of the information presented by the media is warped by highly polarized players. Media consumers are concerned about how the invisible hand of algorithms influences the content they see.
Google Sued for Tracking Chrome Users While Incognito
June 5, 2020
Google is facing a class-action lawsuit for tracking people who used the Chrome browser's Incognito mode. Law firm Boies Schiller Flexner filed the complaint on behalf of people who used the privacy mode during the past four years. "Google tracks and collects consumers' history and other Web activity no matter what safeguards consumers undertake to protect their data privacy," it states.
How to Stay Safe on the Internet, Part 4: Fighting the Power
May 15, 2020
Category 2 adversaries are nothing to sneeze at, but their resources are finite. If you armor up enough, they will give up, and move onto an easier comparable target. In confronting the threat of category 3, everything you have learned ratchets up to a whole new level of paranoia. Category 3 adversaries have functionally unlimited resources for pursuing top targets.
Google Meet Aims to Head Off Zoom
May 4, 2020
Google is integrating its Google Meet videoconferencing application with Gmail, and it already appears as an option in some users' accounts. It is making the service available to everyone for free in the coming weeks, on the Web and through mobile apps for iOS and Android. Users will be able to start or join Meet videoconferences from within Google Calendar as well.
Ask Siri if You Have the Coronavirus
March 24, 2020
Apple users wondering if they've caught COVID-19 now can ask digital assistant Siri for advice. The company has rolled out a self-screening feature that allows users to ask, "Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?" Siri then takes them through a questionnaire prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Public Health Service to determine if they're exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
Crowdsourcing App Takes Aim at COVID-19
March 18, 2020
COVID-19 researchers have a new source of distributed computing power: crowdsourcing. Usually crowdsourcing involves information or opinion gathering, but in this case it involves computing power. By installing the Folding@home software program, anyone with a computer, gaming console, or even some phones and compute cycles to spare can contribute to the work of coronavirus researchers.
New Website Aims to Help People Access COVID-19 Testing
March 17, 2020
Project Baseline, a new website to facilitate screening and testing of people potentially infected with the COVID-19 virus, became available on Sunday. Verily, a company owned by Google parent Alphabet, launched the site. Assistance currently is limited to residents in two counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Verily also is working with authorities to establish testing sites.
How to Run the Linux KDE Desktop on a Chromebook
March 11, 2020
Chromebooks with the right stuff inside now are able to install and run a complete Linux experience with the KDE desktop without giving up the Chrome OS on the same device. It is not yet flawless, but it does create a hybrid computing platform that lets Linux and Android apps coexist on top of the Chrome OS. You can run a complete Linux graphical environment with the KDE desktop.
Firefox Scrambles DNS to Boost Consumer Privacy
February 26, 2020
Firefox users in the United States are getting an extra measure of privacy protection starting this week, the Mozilla Foundation announced. Firefox Desktop Product Development Vice President Selena Deckelmann heralded the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS, or DoH, by default in Mozilla's browser. The DNS, or Domain Name System, is one of the oldest parts of the Internet.
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.
Data-Munching Bug Throws Chrome 79 Android Rollout Into Chaos
December 17, 2019
Google has stalled the rollout of its Chrome 79 Web browser for Android devices until it can find a way to neutralize a data-destroying bug. Affected users have been vilifying Google and app developers for failing to head off the problem. The latest Chrome version contains two highly anticipated new features: phishing protection, and the ability to reorder bookmarks.
Google's Chrome 79 Puts Heavy Emphasis on Security
December 12, 2019
Google has released an update to its Chrome browser with a slew of new features that are heavy on security. The new version has 51 security fixes. It offers improved password protection over earlier versions, real-time phishing protection, and predictive phishing tools. Google recognizes the issues and has taken steps to fix them, noted James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4.
Apple Feature Forces Change in Online Ad Industry
December 11, 2019
Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature has made it difficult for online advertisers to use cookies to target Safari users. Third-party cookies "serve as the foundation for almost all advertising use cases," noted Jordan Mitchell, head of consumer privacy, identity and data at the IAB Tech Lab. The blocking "negatively affects the ability for brands to target audiences."
Google to Shame Slow-Loading Websites
November 13, 2019
Google plans to use performance badges to warn users of slow-loading websites ahead. It will consider historical load latencies first, and later may expand to signal the likelihood that a page will load slowly based on the user's device and network conditions. The criteria will become increasingly stringent over time. The long-term goal is to use badging to rate qualities beyond speed.
Microsoft's Chromium-Based Edge Browser Available as Release Candidate
November 5, 2019
Along with unveiling its new Edge browser logo, Microsoft announced the official launch date of its nearly finished Chromium-based Edge browser and made its Release Candidate available for download immediately. The latest beta edition of the browser is stable enough for anyone to use, Microsoft said, and it will help IT admins prepare for the mid-Jan. 15 rollout.
Safari's Safe Browsing Option Raises Privacy Concerns
October 15, 2019
An option in Apple's Safari browser that's supposed to protect Web surfers from malicious sites has raised privacy concerns in some quarters. The option, called "safe browsing," is turned on by default. Depending on where an Apple device is registered, the browser could be sending IP information to Tencent, a conglomerate with close ties to China's government.
Congress Eyes Google's Chrome Encryption Plans
October 1, 2019
Google's plans to test an encrypted Internet DNS protocol reportedly have spurred some members of Congress to consider opening an antitrust investigation. They are concerned that the new technology could give Google an edge over competitors by making it harder for them to access consumer data. Google is experimenting with new ways to enhance online privacy.
The Beauty of Progressive Web Apps
September 3, 2019
As more Web traffic comes from mobile devices -- particularly traffic to e-commerce sites -- it's becoming ever more important for businesses to have content that loads onto small screens easily, quickly and effortlessly. To some degree, native mobile apps until now have filled that need, but they must be downloaded, and their functionality may have significant limitations.
Spotify for Podcasters Hits the Open Road
August 14, 2019
Spotify has launched Spotify for Podcasters following a year-long beta involving more than 100,000 podcasts from 167 countries. Spotify for Podcasters is a discovery and analytics dashboard designed to let podcasters track performance through data such as episode retention charts, aggregate demographics about listeners, and details on follower growth. Podcast data is updated daily.
Twitter Tweaks Desktop Design
July 17, 2019
Twitter has unveiled a fresh new look for its desktop website that mimics the look and feel of its mobile platforms. The company has been testing a new version of its desktop website since the beginning of the year. The most noticeable change is the organization and layout of the Twitter home screen itself. The upgraded design simplifies navigation with a new and larger left-hand sidebar.
Firefox Users Warned to Patch Critical Flaw
June 20, 2019
Firefox users should update their browsers immediately to fix a critical zero-day vulnerability. Anyone using Firefox on a Windows, macOS or Linux desktop is at risk. Mozilla issued a patch Tuesday, but the vulnerability was discovered by Samuel Groß of Google Project Zero on April 15. Mozilla's fix came after Coinbase reported exploitation of the vulnerability for targeted spearphishing attacks.
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