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Snapchat's Curious About-Face
July 23, 2016
Fleeting memories will be a thing of the past with a new Snapchat feature currently rolling out. "Memories," introduced earlier this month, allows users of the app to save photos and photo stories to their phones, as well as share them with friends. Finding snaps or stories can be done with a simple text search. Protecting snaps and stories on a phone is easy, too.
Civil Rights Office Issues Ransomware Guidance
July 22, 2016
Ransomware infections are on the rise, and healthcare organizations are ripe targets, which may be why the federal government addressed the subject last week. Ransomware attacks have risen from about 1,000 a day last year to 4,000 a day this year, Symantec has reported. Many of those attacks are for small change, but some of the larger ones have been directed at healthcare providers.
Musk Plots Out Tesla's Next 10 Years
July 22, 2016
Elon Musk has unveiled a second master plan for Tesla, a follow-up to the vision he shared 10 years ago. The original master plan is now in the final stages of execution. The refresh sketches out a multiyear, four-pronged strategy that is about more than vehicles. Musk also plans to advance an integrated solar-roof-with-battery product and create a ride-sharing program, among other things.
Teal Pushes Drone Speed Limits
July 21, 2016
Teal Drones on Wednesday introduced what it billed as the world's fastest production drone. Aside from its drone's capabilities, the company is drawing attention because George Matus Jr., its founder and CEO, is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. The drone can fly at 70 mph in all weather conditions and has reached a top speed of 85 mph. It can withstand 40 mph winds.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 3: Safety First
July 20, 2016
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices.
Hackers Claim Credit for Pokemon Go No-Go
July 19, 2016
Pokemon Go, the augmented reality overnight sensation, experienced sluggish performance over the weekend, possibly from a hacker attack on its login servers. Shortly after Pokemon Go devs tweeted that the game was rolling out to 26 additional countries, this tweet appeared: "Trainers! We have been working to fix the server issues. ... We'll post an update soon."
SpaceX Falcon 9 Returns Without a Hitch After Dragon Launch
July 19, 2016
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday returned safely to Earth, touching down at Landing Zone 1 after launching the Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit. "As with previous first stage land and drone-ship landings from SpaceX, this achievement is a testament to the leadership and innovation of America's commercial space industry," said NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner.
Valve to Close the Spigot on Gambling Operations
July 18, 2016
Valve last week announced it would take action against third-party sites that run illegal gambling operations. A number of gambling sites have been leveraging the Steam gaming platform -- in particular, the Counter-Strike game -- to create massive operations that convert virtual skins into cash, Valve said. Valve denied allegations that it has in any way profited from those illegal sites.
Gadget Ogling: Purely Personal Air, Transparent Audio, and Wah-Pedaling Shoes
July 18, 2016
I was diagnosed with mild asthma as a kid. I don't take any medication, yet knowing that illness lives in my respiratory system means I try to be especially conscious of what I'm breathing. Air quality is difficult to control, so a personal air purifier is something that fundamentally interests me. Wynd filters allergens, dust, smoke and other pollutants.
Congressional Committee Report Finds Something Rotten at FDIC
July 18, 2016
Officials at the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits in U.S. banks, made false statements to Congress and failed to make timely notification of serious cybersecurity breaches, according to a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology's interim staff report. FDIC CIO Lawrence Gross has created a toxic work environment, it also says.
Reading Between the Lines: Musk's Folly, Trump's Plan
July 18, 2016
Something like 90 percent of CEOs are planning to put their companies out of business accidentally, based on a KPMG report I just reviewed. After watching Tesla of late, I think Musk is on the fast track to lead this effort, and since I'm a Tesla fan, and I know a lot of you drive Teslas, I thought that might be an interesting, if scary, topic for this week.
Apple Patents Tech to Foil Concert Pirates
July 16, 2016
A patent for an infrared system that could be used to shut off iPhone cameras and microphones at live performances is one of dozens recently awarded to Apple. The system could assist the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions at movies or concerts. It could have other applications as well -- for example, turning an iOS device into a museum or city tour guide.
EU Ratchets Up Charges in Google Antitrust Probe
July 16, 2016
Google and its parent company Alphabet are facing new charges in the European Commission's ongoing investigation of allegations that Google's comparison shopping and online advertising platforms violated antitrust laws. The EC on Thursday alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.
Nest Cam Braves the Great Outdoors
July 15, 2016
Nest has introduced an outdoor surveillance camera to complement its indoor Nest Cam. The Nest Cam Outdoor will go on sale this fall for $199. It is easy to mount on any outdoor surface, according to the company, and even has a magnetic base for attaching to gutters. The camera, which resembles a unit of track lighting, can capture 1080p video and has live-streaming and two-way audio capabilities.
Microsoft Wins Legal Victory in Fight Over Email Stored Abroad
July 15, 2016
Microsoft has won its nearly four-year battle against a warrant requiring it to turn over customer emails held on a server in Ireland. Microsoft had complied with demands to turn over account information stored on its servers in the U.S., but it had refused to give up the emails themselves, contending a U.S. judge did not have the authority to issue warrants for information stored abroad.
Nintendo's NES Classic Targets Gaming Geezers
July 15, 2016
Nintendo on Thursday unveiled its latest gaming console: the NES Classic Edition, a mini replica of the original home console that can connect directly to a TV via an HDMI cable. The system features 30 built-in games from the 8-bit era, including fan favorites such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong, PAC-MAN and Kirby's Adventure.
Consumer Reports Urges Tesla to Pull Plug on Autopilot
July 15, 2016
Consumer Reports has urged Tesla to disable the automatic steering function and change the name of its Autopilot driving assist feature. Questions recently have arisen over whether Tesla's Model S vehicles can operate safely without regular human intervention. Consumer Reports' change request sprang from concerns over a number of recent test crashes, including a fatal accident in Florida.
Facebook's OpenCellular Offers DIY Wireless Access for Remote Regions
July 14, 2016
Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas. The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point.
Pokemon Go Devs Scramble to Fix Big Privacy Goof
July 14, 2016
Just days after Pokemon Go sent Nintendo shares soaring in Tokyo, the game's developers were scrambling to close a massive privacy hole. The iOS version of the mobile game -- which superimposes figures onto real-world environments through augmented reality technology -- apparently had a default setting that required users to grant broad permissions to access their Google accounts.
Music Industry Boos Google's Antipiracy Performance
July 13, 2016
Google on Wednesday released an update of its online antipiracy efforts. YouTube has generated more than $2 billion to content copyright holders by monetizing user-uploaded content through its Content ID rights management system, Google said, adding that more than 90 percent of all Content ID claims result in monetization. YouTube also paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry.
Polaroid Swing Gives New Meaning to Moving Pictures
July 13, 2016
Polaroid Swing, a new iOS app for creating animated photos, on Tuesday debuted at the App Store. The app has ties both to instant photography pioneer Polaroid and Twitter founder Biz Stone. Polaroid Swing lets a "phonetog" capture 1-second videos posing as images that become animated when a phone is tilted, or when they're swiped or tapped. The app presents three options.
Facebook Lets Messenger Conversations Go Dark
July 13, 2016
Facebook last week said it would begin testing long anticipated end-to-end encryption capabilities in its Messenger app, enabling users to have secret conversations. The new level of security means that a message will be visible only to the sender and the recipient -- Facebook won't even be able to read it. Users can set a timer to limit the amount of time that a message remains visible.
SiFive Launches Freedom FOSS SoC Platforms
July 13, 2016
SiFive on Monday announced its flagship Freedom family of system on a chip platforms. The platforms are based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture that several of the company's founders created at the University of California at Berkeley. SiFive's Freedom U500 and E300 platforms take a new approach to SoCs, redefining traditional silicon business models.
Google Dabbles in Post-Quantum Cryptography
July 12, 2016
Google has launched an experiment with post-quantum cryptography in Chrome. A small fraction of connections between Google's servers and Chrome on the desktop will use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm in addition to the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm already being used. The idea is that large quantum computers eventually might be able to break current security algorithms retroactively.
Nintendo Shares Surge on Pokemon Go Juggernaut
July 12, 2016
Nintendo shares soared on Monday after its new augmented reality mobile app, Pokemon Go, burst out of the gate over the weekend in the U.S and in key markets around the globe. The company's shares rose 36 percent in two days, after downloads of the Pokemon Go app raced to the top of iOS and Android charts in the U.S. The wave of demand exceeded expectations, said Morgan Stanley MUFG analyst Mia Nagasaka.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 2: Devices and Apps
July 12, 2016
Concerns have been multiplying in the United States over the creaks of a medical infrastructure that's bearing the weight of an aging population. Current and upcoming members of the over-65 club are helping to drive a new age in healthcare, in which devices connect patients with caregivers, things get even smarter, and machines get even better at learning what sensors are saying.
Parsing the Clinton Email Scandal
July 11, 2016
I've been watching the Clinton email scandal closely, because I not only have been in and out of law enforcement and security for much of my early life, but also was an internal auditor for IBM and one of the leading email experts in the 1990s. I think this is the only time I've seen an investigator channel a prosecutor and give someone a pass without addressing why crimes were committed.
Augmented Reality Mobile Game Puts Pokemon in Real World
July 9, 2016
Pokemon Go, the highly anticipated augmented reality game from Niantic Labs, is finally available for download for iOS and Android mobile devices in the U.S., as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Niantic, the former Google unit behind the popular augmented reality game Ingress, has teamed up with The Pokemon Company and Nintendo to bring the iconic Pokemon title to mobile platforms.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
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Would you drive a Tesla?
I already do, and I love it!
Yes -- if the price were lower.
No -- I wouldn't trust its Autopilot.
I'd drive an electric car but not a Tesla.
I'm not yet sold on electric vehicles.