TECH NEWS

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March 21, 2019
facebook has unveiled oculus rift s a newly designed vr headset for pc gaming
Facebook unveiled its Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will be available this spring for $399. With the Rift 2, Oculus "is following some of the trends set by Vive -- inside-out tracking, incremental improvement, and focus on comfort," observed David MacQueen, executive director of Strategy Analytics' wireless media strategies service. [More...]

March 21, 2019
SparkyLinux is a Linux distro that can ignite your daily computing experience. Its spark is pushing me to rethink my computing priorities. Regularly reviewing so many Linux operating systems for Linux Picks and Pans has a serious consequence for my computing sanity. Normally, I have a flirtatious episode with a new release each week. I'm always on the lookout for something new and shiny. [More...]

March 20, 2019
google has announced stadia a streaming gaming service with wifi controller
Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can stream the highest-quality games to any screen, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in announcing the platform, which is expected to come online later this year. Stadia represents Google's vision for the future of gaming. [More...]

March 19, 2019
apple has refreshed its ipad line with bigger air and more powerful mini
Apple has announced a new 10.5-inch iPad and a refresh of the iPad mini. The iPad Air, which will sell for $499, offers 64 gigabytes of solid state storage and WiFi support. It has Apple's latest mobile processor, the A12 Bionic chip, and supports Apple Pencil and the company's smart keyboard. The 7.9-inch iPad mini, which will sell at a base price of $399 with WiFi support also has an A12 chip. [More...]

March 19, 2019
morebot is an open source robotics ecosystem for classroom or home learning
MORE Technologies last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for development of its open source robot ecosystem. The company will fund the project if it reaches its goal by April 21. It teaches real tech skills to the next generation of innovators and problem solvers using MOREbot -- a series of open source, customizable robotics kits. [More...]

March 18, 2019
there are better ways to address abuse of power than breaking up tech companies
Elizabeth Warren's desire to curtail Facebook, Amazon and other companies that have misused their massive power -- or may do so in the future -- is well founded. The U.S. appears to be trending toward civil war, and I'd place social media in general on the wrong side of this trend. However, we need a plan that will cure the problem without killing the patient. [More...]

March 15, 2019
harry potter wizards unite game includes optional augmented reality features
Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press a chance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as part of a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Games label, promises to build on Niantic's hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile phone game. [More...]

March 14, 2019
alphabet’s jigsaw releases tune chrome extension to fight online toxicity
Jigsaw has released Tune, an experimental Chrome extension that lets users hide comments its algorithms identify as toxic. It is available for Mac, Windows, Linux and the Chrome OS. Tune builds on the same machine learning models that power Jigsaw's Perspective API to rate the toxicity of comments. Tune users can adjust the volume of comments from zero to anything goes. [More...]

March 14, 2019
8 standalone linux time-tracking applications that perform well
Time-tracking software records the time you spend on tasks. The time-tracking helps you create billing reports, prepare invoices, and analyze your workflow for better efficiency. This week's Linux Picks and Pans product review highlights some of the best free time-tracking applications for Linux. The apps included in this roundup are not rated or presented in any quality order. [More...]

March 13, 2019
mozilla has introduced firefox send a free encrypted file-sharing service
Mozilla has announced Firefox Send, a free encrypted file-sharing service that works in any browser. To share a file, you simply visit the Send site and drag your file to a box on the Web page. Unregistered users may upload up to 1 gigabyte in files, while registered users have a 2.5 GB allowance. After uploading your files, you choose an expiration time for the link used to share them. [More...]

March 12, 2019
dhs is accelerating its plans to implement airport facial id despite privacy objections
Plans to bring facial recognition to major U.S. airports by 2021 are on a fast flight path, despite concerns about the new technology's readiness. President Trump in 2017 issued an executive order expediting the deployment of biometric verification of the identities of all travelers crossing U.S. borders. It stipulates that facial recognition identification be used in the top 20 U.S. airports. [More...]

March 11, 2019
apple has been going after qualcomm while huawei looms as the greater threat
The tech market is defined by its battles: Microsoft vs. IBM; Apple vs. Microsoft; Netscape vs. Microsoft; Google vs. Microsoft. If Microsoft were a person, it likely would have PTSD. Then there was Apple vs. Google, and now the big one is Apple vs. Qualcomm. The screwy thing for me is that Huawei represents a far greater threat to both companies than they represent to each other. [More...]

March 8, 2019
semiconductor industry changes have led to outsourcing customization and startups eager to sell
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization. [More...]

March 8, 2019
Parrot offers several options for running a Linux OS that pays much closer attention to security. If you already are handy with digital forensic tasks and want a state-of-the-art system to handle pentesting and privacy issues, check out Parrot Security, which offers a complete all-in-one environment for pentesting, privacy, digital forensics, reverse-engineering and software development. [More...]

March 7, 2019
Microsoft has been urging customers to upgrade from its Windows 7 operating system, while attempting to ease the transition with several options for extended support. It will stop providing routine fixes and security patches effective January 2020. Regular support for Windows Server 2008 also will end at that time. Windows 7 enterprise customers can subscribe to Extended Security Updates. [More...]

March 6, 2019
the august view is a wireless video-streaming doorbell for internet-connected smart homes
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries. [More...]

March 5, 2019
facebook pushes 2fa then uses phone numbers for ad targeting purposes
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only. [More...]

March 5, 2019
easyos combines the best of puppy and quirky linux in a new way
EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution that either will renew your passion for using something different or leave you disappointed in its oddball approach to computing. EasyOS is a blend of the best ideas from Puppy Linux and the now discontinued Quirky Linux. I have used several of the popular Puppy Linux variants over the years. I adopted Quirky Linux a few years ago as my go-to Linux distro on a USB stick. [More...]

March 4, 2019
deep learning tech could distinguish between truthful and lying behavior as well as between accurate and inaccurate statements
Like many of you I was fascinated by the Michael Cohen testimony last week in what was more performance art than fact-finding. It tends to be fascinating to watch disgruntled ex-employees testify, but they often aren't the most reliable witnesses. The personal nature of their termination tends to push them toward exaggeration, and many were fired for legitimate reasons. [More...]

March 1, 2019
parents and educators should help kids learn to code
Learning to code, regardless of the path a child chooses to take, is crucial today. Research shows us that this knowledge will be important in any career. As both a female leader in technology and a mother of a 10-year old boy, I am acutely aware of its critical importance in both my professional and personal life. Coding is a necessary literacy in this technological age. [More...]

February 28, 2019
machine learning can be used to predict wind power allowing optimal use of wind farm turbines
Predicting the power output of wind farms has been challenging, but it's becoming less so with the use of machine learning. Google and British AI company DeepMind have been using ML algorithms to improve predictions of the wind power output at Google's wind farms in the Midwest. The farms use the algorithms to predict wind power output 36 hours ahead of generation. [More...]

February 27, 2019
microsoft has defended its deal to supply hololens tech for military use despite employee objections
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens. [More...]

February 27, 2019
the borontok ransomware attacking linux systems has been making unusually high payment demands
A new cryptovirus called "B0r0nt0K" has been putting Linux and possibly Windows Web servers at risk of encrypting all of the infected domain's files. The new ransomware threat and the ransom of 20 bitcoins -- about $75,000 -- first came to light last week in a forum post. A client's website had all its files encrypted and renamed with the .rontok extension appended to them, the forum user indicated. [More...]

February 26, 2019
android adoption of the fido2 authentication standard could greatly reduce password use
The FIDO Alliance hammered another nail into the passwords coffin with the announcement that devices running Android 7.0 or higher will be compatible with FIDO2, the latest version of its authentication solution. Certification of Android 7.0+ means devices running those versions of Google's mobile operating system will support FIDO2 out of the box or through a software update. [More...]

February 25, 2019
5g technology is coming and apple is not well positioned to take advantage of it
The Mobile World Congress is the annual event where everyone who hates Apple goes to grouse about their profits and point out Apple's lack of real progress. That's pretty much everyone who is anyone, aside from Apple itself, which also is at the event. Much like CES often does, MWC tends to spin pretty hard toward the "I hate Apple, I'd like to be Apple" crowd of competitors. [More...]