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Flash Flames Out - but It Will Smolder for a While
July 27, 2017
Adobe has decided to pull the plug on its much maligned Flash format, citing the growing use of HTML5, WebGL and Web Assembly open standards. Helper apps have evolved over time to become plugins, which then further evolved to become open Web standards, Adobe noted. However, because gaming, education and video have come to depend heavily on Flash over the years, its phaseout will be gradual.
Google Neutralizes Docs Phishing Scam
May 5, 2017
A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said.
Internet Giants Ramp Up Fake News Defenses
April 27, 2017
Three major Internet brands this week announced initiatives to combat "fake news" online. Google revealed that it had tweaked its search processes to help bring high-quality content to the top of search result pages. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced a new online publication that aims to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with legions of volunteer community contributors.
Facebook Builds a VR Space, but Will Anyone Come?
April 19, 2017
Facebook has announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces, a new app that allows users to connect with friends and colleagues in an interactive virtual reality environment. It provides a way for social media users to hang out as they might otherwise in person -- even bridging great distances -- noted Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook. An avatar represents each user in the VR world.
Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home
April 13, 2017
Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers' homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The trigger phrase for Google's AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia's description of the Whopper.
Google's Fact Check Labeling System Goes Global
April 8, 2017
Google has extended the Fact Check feature it introduced last fall. Publishers now can display a Fact Check tag in news stories everywhere that Google News is available. The company also has introduced the Fact Check feature globally in Google Search, in all of the languages it supports. Not all stories will be fact checked, though, and only certain publishers will be able to participate.
Too Much Communication
March 28, 2017
The world is a smaller place because we have so many ways to connect and communicate, but it has created a generation gap, a gap of classes and perhaps even a culture gap. This may seem like a serious contradiction; after all shouldn't more means of communication bring us closer together? The obvious answer is yes, but unfortunately this is not the case.
ProsperWorks Adds In-App Comms to its Google CRM Solution
March 20, 2017
ProsperWorks, which provides CRM for Google's G Suite business tools, last week announced the addition of in-app cloud communications functionality. The new features are available through a custom integration with RingCentral, which provides enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions. The integration lets users make, receive and log calls without leaving the CRM solution.
Crafty Phishing Technique Can Trick Even Tech-Savvy Gmail Users
March 17, 2017
Gmail users recently have been targeted by a sophisticated series of phishing attacks that use emails from a known contact. The emails contain an image of an attachment that appears to be legitimate, according to Wordfence. The sophisticated attack displays "accounts.gmail.com" in the browser's location bar and leads users to what appears to be a legitimate Google sign-in page.
Verizon Cuts Better Deal for Breach-Battered Yahoo
February 21, 2017
Verizon and Yahoo on Tuesday announced new terms for the acquisition deal they inked last summer. Verizon will pay $350 million less than the original contract price, which places the new value of the deal at $4.48 billion. Yahoo will be responsible for 50 percent of any breach-related cash liabilities incurred as a result of non-SEC government investigations and third-party litigation, under the new agreement.
New LinkedIn Site Design Encourages Engagement
January 19, 2017
LinkedIn has announced a new look tied to a complete overhaul of its technology architecture, which brings conversations and content front and center. The redesign brings the LinkedIn desktop in line with the mobile browser version launched in 2015. LinkedIn will roll out its new desktop globally over the next few weeks. Among the changes are a streamlined navigation bar and smarter messaging.
Min Browser Muffles the Web's Noise
January 9, 2017
Min is a Web browser with a minimal design that provides speedy operation with simple features. When it comes to software design, "minimal" does not mean low functionality or undeveloped potential. If you like minimal distraction tools for your text editor and note-taking applications, that same comfort appeal is evident in the Min browser. I mostly use Google Chrome, Chromium and Firefox on my desktops and laptop computers.
Airbnb Offers to Give a Little in NY, SF Tussles
October 21, 2016
Airbnb recently proposed changes to its listing policies for short-term rental property owners in New York City and San Francisco, possibly in response to threats of aggressive action from state and local lawmakers. With respect to New York operations, Airbnb on Wednesday proposed a set of five changes in an article penned by Chris Lehane, the company's global head of public policy.
Yahoo Makes It Harder for Email Users to Jump Ship
October 11, 2016
Yahoo in recent days disabled autoforwarding for Yahoo Mail -- and in at least one corporate client's case, it disabled the webmail deletion feature. The autoforwarding feature "is under development," reads a statement on the Yahoo site. "While we work to improve it, we've temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses."
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.
Salesforce Gets a Grip on Quip
August 2, 2016
Salesforce has agreed to acquire Quip, Quip CEO Bret Taylor and Head of Product Kevin Gibbs announced Monday. Quip lets users manage live documents throughout the collaboration process. The deal is worth about $582 million, according to a Salesforce filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Quip provides a chat feature that's built into every document and spreadsheet.
New Office 365 Features Help Build a Better Research Paper
July 27, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a slew of cloud-powered intelligent services in Office 365 apps that aim to assist research and writing efforts. Researcher lets users access the Bing Knowledge Graph to find and incorporate sources and content for research papers without leaving Word. Editor uses machine learning and national language processing, combined with input from Microsoft's linguists.
Skype for Linux Alpha Draws Cheers, Jeers
July 19, 2016
Microsoft has introduced a new Web-based Skype for Linux client in alpha. Based on WebRTC, it uses Microsoft's next-generation calling architecture. It lets users share files, photos, videos and new emoticons. Users will be able to call others using the latest versions of Skype on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android -- but not with earlier versions of Skype for Linux.
Microsoft Adds Planning Prowess to Office Space
June 7, 2016
Microsoft on Monday announced the general availability of its Planner collaboration tool, which will roll out in the next few weeks to all eligible customers -- those who have Enterprise E1-E5, Business Essentials, Premium or Education subscriptions to Office 365. Planner lets users create new plans, as well as organize, assign and collaborate on tasks. Users also can update statuses and share files.
Google to Dim Flash Player in Chrome Browser
May 17, 2016
Google last week announced that it would minimize use of Adobe's Flash Player in its Chrome Web browser by the end of the year by turning off its default status. When Chrome encounters a Web page, it will report the presence of Flash Player only if a user has indicated that the domain should execute Flash or if the site is in one of the top 10 domains using Flash, ‎Google's Anthony LaForge said.
Opera Browser Sips Laptop Juice Rather Than Slurping
May 13, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced a dedicated power-saving mode in the developer version of its Web browser. Tests showed it extended laptop battery life by up to 50 percent against Google Chrome, Opera said. The browser will suggest enabling power-saving mode when a battery has 20 percent of capacity left. Clicking on the battery icon after a laptop is disconnected from its power cable activates it.
Microsoft Curbs Cortana in Windows 10
April 30, 2016
Microsoft has decided to restrict its Cortana digital assistant to operating with the Edge browser and Bing search engine in Windows 10. "As Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent [its] design and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana," said Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana.
With Latest Opera Browser, Everybody Gets Free VPN
April 22, 2016
Opera on Wednesday announced that it would add a free VPN service to the latest version of its browser. VPNs, or virtual private networks, add an extra level of security for Web surfers. Companies use them to provide secure communications for employees remotely accessing office systems, and consumers use them to block unwanted snooping on their online activity.
MIT Researchers Forge New Weapon for Code Warriors
April 20, 2016
MIT researchers have developed a fast, accurate system for identifying security flaws in Web apps written in Ruby on Rails, according to news reports published last week. Tests the researchers performed on 50 popular RoR apps uncovered 23 previously undiscovered security flaws. What's more, the longest amount of time it took to analyze any one program was 64 seconds.
Google Calendar Offers Life-Coaching Goals Feature
April 18, 2016
Google last week rolled out Goals in Google Calendar, a feature designed to help users achieve their personal goals. Users set a goal, such as working out more often, and answer relevant questions, such as how often they want to work out and the best time for them to do so. Calendar then will sift through their schedules and select the best time to allocate for the task.
Publishers Put Brave Ad-Blocking Browser on Notice
April 11, 2016
A group of newspaper publishers last week sent what amounted to a cease-and-desist letter to Brave Software, which offers the HTTPS Brave browser with built-in ad blocking and tracking protection. Brave has offered to let publishers make money off blocked ads by partnering with them "for a lower fee than they pay their third-party data-tracking partners," CEO Brendan Eich said.
Vivaldi Flaunts Its Plus-Size Browser Attributes
April 7, 2016
Vivaldi on Wednesday launched the first release of its eponymously named browser. Vivaldi is the brainchild of CEO Jon von Tetzchner, a cofounder of Opera Software. Aimed at the power user, Vivaldi 1.0 packs in features that were stripped out of Opera 12. However, "Vivaldi is not about a single feature," von Tetzchner said. "Vivaldi is more about a philosophy."
Blendle Bets Readers Will Micropay for Good Journalism
March 25, 2016
Blendle, a Netherlands-based news aggregation site that draws comparisons to Spotify, on Wednesday announced its beta launch in the U.S. Blendle made its debut with the participation of several major new organizations and financial backing from Axel Springer and The New York Times. The 5-year-old company, which recently expanded into Germany, has opened the beta phase to 10,000 users.
Google Says Sayonara to Chrome App Launcher
March 23, 2016
Google on Tuesday announced that it was shutting down the Chrome app launcher everywhere but in the Chrome OS. That means users who like to launch their favorite Google apps from a menu will have to settle for launching them only within the Google Chrome browser or through shortcuts in their bookmark bar. Windows, Mac and Linux users prefer launching their apps within Chrome.
Opera Desktop Browser Comes With Ad Blocking Baked In
March 11, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced that new version of its desktop browser will have ad blocking built in. Users can block ads in other browsers, but only through add-on programs called "extensions." With ad blocking built in, Opera's Web engine can perform the task better than extensions. "People care about speed in a Web browser," said Krystian Kolondra, SVP for global engineering at Opera.
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How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.