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Feds Probe Alleged Phone Hacks as Election Fears Surge
October 4, 2016
Federal authorities have been investigating reports that hackers targeted the mobile phones of a handful of Democratic Party staffers. The news follows a series of breaches in recent months that revealed emails and other personal information of party staffers and other Democratic officials. The FBI has launched an investigation into the attacks, which may be linked to Russia.
Facebook Cuts Ribbon on New Online Marketplace
October 4, 2016
Facebook on Monday announced Marketplace, a new mobile app that facilitates buying and selling between peers. Marketplace allows members of a community to discover, buy and sell items, noted Facebook Product Management Director Mary Ku. The service is scheduled for rollout this week in the United States, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Users can access Marketplace by tapping a shopping icon at the bottom of the Facebook mobile app.
Prepare to Be Google Pixelated
October 3, 2016
Leaks about Google's expected family of Pixel smartphones, reportedly manufactured by HTC, on Monday reached a crescendo ahead of the company's Tuesday press event. Google is poised to announce two smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, according to specs published online. The Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch 2,560 x 1,440 pixel AMOLED display; the Pixel has a 5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 AMOLED display.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Merrily, Snapping Happily, and Listening My Way
October 1, 2016
Roku has refreshed its lineup of media players with lower prices, so bringing streaming video to every screen in your home just got a little more accessible. At the lower end, the Roku Express costs $30. The lineup includes $40, $50, $80 and $100 models with a variety of feature combinations. At $130, the Roku Ultra, pictured here, is the feature-loaded top-of-the-line option.
Germany Dope Slaps Facebook Over WhatsApp Data
September 28, 2016
Germany's data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data from WhatsApp users in the country. Facebook also must delete any data it already may have harvested from German WhatsApp users, according to Johannes Caspar, Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, who issued the order. Facebook purchased WhatsApp two years ago.
Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles
September 27, 2016
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all.
Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release
September 26, 2016
Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone. The move follows this summer's posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z device family. Its release seems to be another step in Lenovo's attempt to get devs to build an ecosystem around it.
HPE and Apple: The Speed of Image Transformation
September 26, 2016
HPE and Apple are very different companies this decade, having shifted their models from a strategic customer/innovation focus to one that's more tactical -- and tied far more closely to quarterly profit. They are hardly alone, and this unfortunate trend is not tied to any one industry or any one country. Firms increasingly are defined not by creative products but by complaining customers.
Opera's Free VPN Takes On Internet Privacy Challenge
September 22, 2016
Opera earlier this week released a new version of its browser, Opera 40, which comes with a free virtual private network service built in. The official rollout follows five months of user experimentation with a beta version. After evaluating beta users' feedback, the company brought on additional servers, added options for global or private browsing, and created iOS and Android versions.
Samsung Green-Lights Galaxy Note7 Replacements
September 22, 2016
In an update to its Galaxy Note7 recall, Samsung announced that more than 500,000 new replacement devices would be available for exchange at U.S. retail outlets on Wednesday. The company also announced the rollout of a software update that will display a green battery icon on the screens of new Note7 devices to distinguish them from those subject to recall.
Comcast Takes the Wireless Plunge
September 21, 2016
CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday announced that Comcast will enter the wireless phone market by mid-2017 as a mobile virtual network operator. A 150-strong Comcast Wireless team, headed by Greg Butz, is "getting ready next year ... to launch a WiFi and MVNO-integrated product," Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference in New York.
Samsung Troubles Deepen Following Formal CPSC Action
September 19, 2016
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung last week announced a formal voluntary recall of about 1 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones, after the high-end flagship device was found to have overheated or caught fire in at least 92 incidents. Samsung was notified of 26 cases of people being burned by the defective 5.7-inch smartphones and 55 cases of property damage, according to the CPSC.
Why Russian Hackers Are Doing the US a Favor
September 19, 2016
Colin Powell's hacked email once again showcases that what people in office tell us and what they actually think are two very different things. Politicians work for us -- we are supposedly their employers. Yet we seem to know far less about what they do and think than what we need to know in order to vote intelligently. Powell's comments are actually far more damaging to Clinton than Trump.
New Apple Products Have the Right Gaming Stuff
September 17, 2016
Apple wants to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products. The iPhone 7 features the new A10 Fusion chip -- the most powerful ever in a smartphone, according to the company. The CPU fuses two high-performance cores that run twice as fast as the iPhone 6 with much more efficient use of battery power.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
iPhone 7 Draws Tepid Notices
September 15, 2016
The iPhone 7 may be Apple's best smartphone to date, but it's garnering lukewarm reactions from reviewers and pundits. The new iPhone's waterproofing and better battery life are welcome. Further, "the camera and speed improvements are nothing to sneeze at," wrote reviewer Andrew Cunningham, "but you'll need to buy into Apple's vision of the future" -- a world without buttons or wires.
Samsung Catches a Small Break in Midst of Note7 Battery Pummeling
September 13, 2016
Samsung stock recovered slightly on Tuesday from the nosedive it took Monday, after regulators urged consumers to turn in more than 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones. Shares closed 4.2 percent higher on Tuesday, erasing some of Monday's $14 billion loss in market value. The FAA's alert came in response to a small number of reports of the phone's lithium ion batteries catching fire.
Apple Puts Its User-Friendly Stamp on Fancy iPhone 7 Cameras
September 9, 2016
Apple raised the ante for cameras in flagship phones with the announcement of its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Others already have taken the dual-camera approach to smartphone photography -- notably HTC, LG and Huawei. "While it's not the first dual camera mounted in a smartphone, it's on par with the others in terms of basic functionality," said Brian Blau, a research director for Gartner.
Apple Hopes iPhone 7 Extras Will Make Up for Missing Headphone Jack
September 8, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus, confirming a rumor that has evoked widespread dread: The traditional headphone jacks are gone. The new iPhones are sleeker than their predecessors, though, as well as water resistant. Their biggest plus might be the advanced lenses in what Apple claims is the most sophisticated smartphone camera in the world.
American Bookworms Still Love Paper
September 7, 2016
The death of the printed book appears to have been greatly exaggerated. Nearly three quarters of participants in a recent Pew Research Center study said they had read a book in the last year, largely on paper. Of the more than 1,500 American adults who said they'd read a book in the last 12 months, nearly two thirds had read a print book. That's more than twice the number who had read an e-book.
Google's Russian Android Appeal Falls Flat
September 7, 2016
A Russian appeals court has rejected Google's appeal of a $6.75 million fine regulators imposed for anticompetitive behavior -- that is, for forcing mobile device vendors to put Google Play apps on the main screens of devices using the Android operating system. The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court handed down its ruling last month, confirming the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Desks, New-Wave Gaming, and Roaming Routers
September 7, 2016
After a long, laborious process and a lot of scraping paint splotches from the floor, the office space in my new apartment is ready for me, and I will soon no longer need to write this column from my kitchen table. So, I'm in the market for a desk. With my nascent interest in standing desks, the Gaze Desk seems a decent option. It switches between standing and seated modes with a button press.
That Hissing Sound Is the Last Bit of Air Leaking From Apple's Balloon
September 6, 2016
Apple used to guard details about a new iPhone more closely than Fort Knox, but that doesn't seem to be the case any more. The shift has been glaring with the iPhone 7, slated for introduction on Wednesday. It's widely believed that the new iPhone has no headphone jack. Sound is piped to the user through a set of EarPods that connect to the phone through its Lightning port or a dongle.
Google Fiber's Long, Tough Road Is Full of Twists and Turns
September 6, 2016
Alphabet has been facing significant roadblocks in expanding Google Fiber into new U.S. cities, in part due to significant competitive and legal challenges from incumbent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast. The companies currently are embroiled in a dispute over access to utility poles in Nashville, Tennessee, and the city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal.
Sacking Jack May Anger iPhone Headphone Fans
September 3, 2016
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak recently said removing the headphone jack in the next version of the iPhone is going to "tick off a lot of people." It's been rumored for months that Apple would be scrapping the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 it's expected to unveil next week. Such a move, Wozniak said, could upset users who have invested in listening technology that uses the headphone jack.
Can Apple Beat Snapchat and Instagram at Their Video Game?
September 1, 2016
Snapchat and Instagram, look out. Apple has you in its sights. The company reportedly is working on a video-sharing app with features similar to those found in Snapchat and Instagram. The app, possibly slated for release in 2017, will allow users of Apple devices to record a video, apply filters and draw on it, then share it with others on a variety of social networks.
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Election Season Spawns Scams With Political Twist
August 30, 2016
Dirty tricks during political campaigns are nothing new, but the Internet and the proliferation of mobile devices have allowed tricksters to up their games a notch. It came to light last week, for example, that Donald Trump's campaign app was hoovering the address books on his supporters' phones. Trump's app wasn't doing anything illegal. It wasn't even trying to hide what it was doing.
Snazzier Fitbits Sport Beefed-Up Feature Sets
August 30, 2016
Fitbit on Monday announced two new fitness trackers with sleeker looks, more durable construction and greater data-gathering capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 2, priced at $149.95, features continuous heart-rate tracking. It uses the data to generate a cardio fitness score and provides guidance for improving it over time. The Charge 2 displays real-time exercise stats.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.