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Microsoft Sacks Editors, Gives Jobs to AI
June 4, 2020
Some 50 editors working for Microsoft's news operation have learned their contracts won't be renewed and their jobs will be performed by artificial intelligence software, according to reports. The contractors hired through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting were notified May 27 that their services would not be needed beyond June 30. MSN will use AI to do the jobs of the editors.
Twitter Ejects White Supremacist Account Posing as Antifa
June 3, 2020
Twitter has erased an account that claimed to be affiliated with the militant left-wing antifa movement but actually was operated by a white nationalist group. The group, Identity Evropa, began tweeting Sunday night, calling for violent action in the suburbs of cities where demonstrators were protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in the custody of police in Minneapolis.
High-Tech Firms Challenged to Give More Than Lip Service to BLM
June 3, 2020
Brands and retailers around the world posted black squares on their Instagram feeds in response to "Blackout Tuesday," to show support for protests against a police officer's killing of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. By Wednesday morning, there were 28.6 million posts on the #blackouttuesday Instagram page launched by music executives Jamila Thomas and Briana Agyemang.
Website Development Contracts, Part 1: How to Avoid Major Disasters
June 1, 2020
When entering into website development contracts, the more you know the more likely you will be able to avoid contract disasters that could prevent your website from launching on time or working properly. There are many stories about failed software development projects, not just in connection with website development contracts, but with all information technology projects.
Jack Dorsey and the End of Twitter
June 1, 2020
I'm a member of what is likely a reasonably sizable informal group of people who trained to be a CEO but declined the job -- in my case, several times. So I don't envy the position that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is in as he tries to figure out a way to do the right thing concerning the spread of false information and defend his company against an attack by the designated leader of the free world.
XRSpace Headset Opens Door to New Virtual World
May 27, 2020
A new virtual reality headset designed for mobility will serve as an entry point into a new virtual world. The $599 Mova headset from XRSpace, founded by former HTC chief Peter Chou, will support 5G and be the exclusive on-ramp to Manova, a social reality platform that aims to defy the boundaries of space and time to bring people together. Users can roam Manova as full-body avatars.
From Hobby to Career Path: Tech-Savvy HS Sophomore Learns by Doing
May 22, 2020
What started out as a hobby to feed his passion for technology has turned into a business for Skyler Ficklin, operator of the QuitZoom website and iSkyler YouTube video channel. Ficklin, stuck at home while his Ohio high school is closed due to COVID-19, spends his days and nights completing online learning assignments to end his sophomore year. Then he diverts attention to hands-on activities.
Facebook Shops Seeks to Cash In on Online Bonanza
May 21, 2020
Facebook has announced Facebook Shops, which will let small businesses set up a single online store accessible from both Instagram and Facebook. Businesses can choose products they want to feature and customize the look and feel of their online shop. Consumers can find Facebook Shops on a business' Facebook page or Instagram profile, or through stories or ads.
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.
Classroom of the Future: The Rise of Online Learning
May 14, 2020
By necessity, almost all education is happening online at the moment. However, the trend of online education likely will continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Online learning is often more convenient than in-person training, and because the methods and techniques for online education are evolving and improving, it quickly has become a preferred business tool.
How to Solve WiFi Speed and Connection Problems
May 14, 2020
In theory, all you need is a shiny new router for hassle-free wireless connections in your home or small office. Yet in practice, your wireless reception often will be plagued with interference issues. Interference can cause slow delivery, higher latency than hardwired connections, frequent disconnects and reconnects, and sometimes a complete inability to access a WiFi signal.
Report: Working From Home May Be a Keeper
May 12, 2020
More than 40 percent of professionals working at home because of the pandemic would prefer to work remotely full time, suggests a new report from Valoir. "One of the reasons we did this survey was to help provide people with more data to understand they weren't alone, and we expected to hear more about stress and the negatives of remote work," said Rebecca Wettemann, principal at Valoir.
Far-Right Spreads COVID-19 Disinformation Epidemic Online
May 5, 2020
Far-right groups and individuals in the United States are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to promote disinformation, hate, extremism and authoritarianism. "COVID-19 has been seized by far-right groups as an opportunity to call for extreme violence," states a report from ISD, based on a combination of natural language processing, network analysis and ethnographic online research.
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.
Ad Makers Use Deepfakes to 'Refresh' Old Content
April 28, 2020
With measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 putting a chokehold on their filming capabilities, advertising agencies are enhancing old content with new tech, including deepfakes. Deepfakes typically blend one person's likeness, or parts thereof, with the image of another person. Ad agencies are so restricted in how they can generate content, they'll explore anything that can be computer-generated.
Google Tightens Reins on Advertisers
April 24, 2020
Google soon will require all advertisers to prove their legitimacy, regardless of the advertising content. All advertisers will have to verify their identity, submit personal IDs and business verification documents, said John Canfield, Google's director of product management for ads integrity. Google began requiring political advertisers to verify their identity in the runup to the 2018 elections.
Facebook Gaming Powers Ahead With Live Streaming
April 21, 2020
Facebook has launched a free standalone app for creating and watching live video game play on Android devices. Some 700 million users already engage in gaming on the platform, but with its dedicated app Facebook is locking horns with the leaders in the market -- Amazon, Google and Microsoft. "Live streaming was a growth opportunity before the pandemic," noted Strategy Analytics' Michael Goodman.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds Fires Up Hopes and Dreams
April 20, 2020
Humans may be wanderers by nature, but in the year 2020, with planet Earth overrun by a pandemic, most human activity has come to a shocking halt. Perhaps one of the best things for a wandering race stuck at home is an opportunity to look outward -- to thought-travel into the boundless universe and dream of grand and sweeping possibilities. That's what Cosmos: Possible Worlds offers.
Facebook, YouTube Crack Down on Conspiracy Theories Linking 5G to Coronavirus
April 8, 2020
Facebook and YouTube are cracking down on the pervasive conspiracy theories linking the spread of coronavirus to 5G wireless technology. Facebook has begun actively removing false claims that could lead to physical harm. WhatsApp has reduced the number of accounts users can forward chats to from five to one. Meanwhile, YouTube has banned all videos promoting 5G-coronavirus conspiracy theories.
A Patchwork of Useful Things
April 4, 2020
Adobe just announced what it calls the first digital economy index. It seems like it's modeled after other indices usually kept by the federal government to measure economic output and consumption. The Adobe index captures only consumer consumption behavior though. Some of its insights include new shopping behavior, such as which products have become hot items or decreased in popularity over time.
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."
Living in the COVID-19 World: TV Hosts Struggle at Home
March 30, 2020
While stuck at home, many of us are burning through online content very rapidly. One of the things that's become painfully apparent is that TV shows that typically have live audiences suddenly have become almost unwatchable. In the context of the COVID-19 virus and our sudden need to view events remotely, coming up with ways to make audiences feel engaged has never been more critical.
Instagram Combats COVID-19 Misinformation, Social Isolation
March 25, 2020
Instagram has announced a slew of new capabilities to combat misinformation about the coronavirus, along with a co-watching feature that helps users feel less isolated while sheltering at home. Efforts to clamp down on misinformation include removing COVID-19 accounts from recommendations unless they are posted by a credible health organization, and removing false claims that could cause harm.
Concerns Grow That COVID-19 Could Take Down the Internet
March 24, 2020
It may not be a question of if but when the Internet will reach the breaking point under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internet is fast becoming a potential victim of the coronavirus assault. With an estimated billion people staying home, remote working, or just watching shows online all day, concerns are mounting that the Internet will break under the strain.
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.
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.
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.
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Which technology has the strongest positive or negative impact on race relations?
Smartphone cameras, by holding people accountable.
Twitter, by reporting news as it happens.
Facebook, by providing a platform for discussing the issues.
YouTube, by exposing viewers to other cultures.
Twitter, by fueling antagonisms.
Facebook, by spreading fake news.