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CVS Offers Doc Visits via Smartphone Video
August 9, 2018
CVS Health'a retail MinuteClinic on Wednesday announced MinuteClinic Video Visits, a new virtual healthcare offering designed to assist people with minor illnesses and injuries, skin conditions, and other wellness needs. The telehealth offering will provide 24/7 access to healthcare services via mobile devices. It is available for both Android and iOS in nine states and Washington, D.C.
Android Pie Is Filled with AI
August 8, 2018
AI plays a big role in Android 9, the latest version of Google's mobile OS. Called "Android Pie," it is designed to learn from its users' behavior, and apply those lessons to simplify and customize their phone experiences. Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone," noted Sameer Samat, Google's vice president of product management for Android and Google Play.
Virus Attack on Chipmaker Could Delay Next iPhone
August 7, 2018
A computer virus over the weekend disrupted the operations of the Asian manufacturer that makes chips for the iPhone and other devices offered by top shelf high-tech companies. TSMC said that a virus outbreak Friday evening affected a number of computer systems and fab tools at its facilities in Taiwan. The incident likely will cause shipment delays and create additional costs.
Behind Apple's Trillion-Dollar Company Numbers
August 6, 2018
Apple is one of the most popular and powerful companies in the U.S., and last week it became the most valuable as well. That news brought back some personal memories of my time at IBM, when it was the most powerful and valuable technology company in the world. For a long time, it seemed virtually untouchable. However, IBM went off the rails, and by the early 1990s the stock had collapsed.
Earrings With Earphones and a Smartphone Bonanza
July 26, 2018
Swings Bluetooth Earrings with built-in earphones showcase a practical, clever idea for people with pierced ears. Swings certainly could fix the problem of losing Apple's expensive AirPods to the ether or having to root around in one's pockets or purse to find one's tangled-up headset. You can expect five hours of listening time out of the Swings on a single charge.
Sony's 48MP Sensor Delivers Greater Detail Despite Shrunken Pixels
July 24, 2018
Mobile phone cameras are about to get a significant performance boost. Sony on Monday introduced a 48-megapixel sensor for cellphone cameras that measures less than one-third of an inch diagonally. The sensor is slated for release in September. To pack that many pixels into such tight quarters, Sony had to shrink their size to 8 microns. Shrinking pixel sizes usually results in performance degradation, not improvement.
Samsung's Foldable Smartphone Slated for Next Year: Report
July 19, 2018
Samsung plans to launch a foldable-screen smartphone early next year, according to reports, possibly priced around $1,500. It will resemble a book, with the main display inside the covers, said Ken Hyers, director of the emerging device strategies service at Strategy Analytics. The exterior will have a smaller notification display on the front, and a camera, or cameras, on the back.
New iOS Security Feature Ripe for Defeat
July 11, 2018
A new feature in iOS 11.4.1, which Apple released earlier this week, is designed to protect against unwanted intrusions through the iPhone's Lightning Port. However, the protection may be weak at best. The feature, called "USB Restricted Mode," disables data transfer through the Lightning Port after an hour of inactivity. In some cases, the phone might not charge, according to Apple.
The Dismal State of Healthcare IoT Security
June 25, 2018
The healthcare industry has been moving toward medical equipment connectivity to speed up data entry and recording, as well as improve data accuracy. At the same time, there has been a shift toward incorporating consumer mobile devices, including wearables. "The demand for connected devices has increased rapidly in recent years," noted Leon Lerman, CEO of Cynerio.
Fire Cubes, Home Theater Beams, and X-ray Cases
June 21, 2018
Amazon's latest gambit for taking over your living room is the Fire TV Cube. It works in much the same way as the Fire TV stick, but with the added impact this time around of stuffing in a smart speaker with the familiar tones of the Alexa voice assistant. You can use it to play whatever you want to see in up to 4K resolution from various streaming services.
iOS 12 to Provide Stronger 911 Location Help
June 19, 2018
iOS 12 automatically will share location data for iPhones used to make emergency calls. The system will use an IP-based data pipeline developed by RapidSOS to share location data from iPhones with 911 centers. "Communities rely on 911 centers in an emergency, and we believe they should have the best available technology at their disposal," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Upcoming iOS Access Restrictions Could Stymie Law Enforcement
June 16, 2018
Apple plans to equip iOS 12 with USB Restricted Mode, which requires users to unlock their iPhone with their passcode before USB accessories can connect if the phone last was unlocked more than an hour earlier. The company included this feature in the developer versions of iOS 11.4.1 and iOS 12. Apple will release USB Restricted Mode publicly in a future software update, it confirmed this week.
Apple Unveils New Siri Customization Tools at WWDC
June 5, 2018
The next version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 12, will include a new feature that allows you to customize the way Siri works with applications on phones and tablets. The announcement was one of the highlights at the kickoff of Apple's WWDC on Monday. Called "Siri Shortcuts," the feature lets a user define a phrase that will trigger a set of actions by the apps on a device.
Next-Generation 7nm Chips Headed for Fall iPhones: Report
May 24, 2018
Apple has ramped up production of its new 7-nanometer processor for its upcoming crop of iPhones. The new processor will be smaller, faster and more efficient than the 10nm processor in Apple's current iPhone line, according to a report. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, one of Apple's partners, has begun mass production of the chip, which is expected to be called the "A12."
How to Back Up iPhone Data to an External Drive
May 16, 2018
A recent incident reminded me of the importance of backing up one's phone regularly. Soon after carrying my recycling out to the curbside, I realized I had misplaced my 6-month-old iPhone. Cue brief panic, followed by deep concern that I'd somehow tossed my device into that transparent bag I'd left outside for the world to see. That led me to yelling "Hey, Siri" until the familiar chime sounded.
Android P Tackles Phone Addiction, Distraction
May 10, 2018
Google has revealed some major new features in the next version of its Android operating system for mobile devices. Now in public beta, the OS known as "Android P" includes features designed to address growing concerns about phone addiction and distraction. For example, a dashboard will show users how often, when and for how long they use each application on their phone.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
Swedish Sounds, Cool Phones, and Smart Switches
April 17, 2018
Not quite content with furnishing every other aspect of our homes, IKEA has continued its push into smart home territory with its first Bluetooth speaker. The Eneby comes in two sizes: 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 inches. You can use it as a portable speaker with up to 10 hours of battery life with the optional $20 battery, and there's a handle for added portability.
Curves, Gestures May Be in iPhone's Future
April 5, 2018
Gesture control and a curved body may be in the iPhone's future. Apple has been experimenting with those features for the iPhone, and they could be ready for prime time in two to three years. Gesture control would allow a user to execute tasks without touching the screen. The technology could be used for more than just answering phone calls and opening apps, noted Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Phones, Simple Phones, and Sparkling Water on Tap
March 13, 2018
Oh, look, it's a new flagship smartphone duo from Samsung. Shockingly enough, they're called the "Galaxy S9" and "Galaxy S9+." They have a similar appearance to the previous year's models, but there are also a few differences, such as a new camera and stereo speakers. There's a 960-frames-per-second slow motion mode, and there's the option to add music to clips or turn them into GIFs.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ May Shine Brightest as S6, S7 Replacement
March 8, 2018
Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets claimed the spotlight on Thursday as the first reviews of the smartphones surfaced. The general consensus appears to be that these new models successfully built on past designs, yet fell short in numerous areas. The new phones are good -- but anyone expecting revolutionary functionality may be disappointed.
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Former Execs Team Up to Fight the Tech Addiction Monster
February 7, 2018
A group of former Facebook, Google and Mozilla executives have joined forces to establish the Center for Humane Technology, a new organization dedicated to combating the growing problem of addictive behavior among social media users. The new center, along with the children's advocacy group Common Sense, has announced a campaign to help change the social media model.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones
January 31, 2018
Amazon on Tuesday introduced new functionality that enables its Alexa virtual assistant to send and receive SMS messages on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Carrier charges may apply. Alexa, the software that powers the Echo line of smart speakers, can play and send personalized messages from contacts for users who have set up voice profiles.
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
Apple Spotlights Key iOS 11.3 Features
January 25, 2018
Apple has unveiled new features that will become available when iOS 11.3 is released this spring. The company released the developer preview to members of the iOS Developer Program, and a public beta is expected shortly. The update will provide new ways to experience AR on the iPhone and iPad, offer new Animoji on the iPhone X, and give users a consolidated view of their health records.
Batteries in New iPhones Could Have Shorter Life Spans
January 23, 2018
There was some bad news for owners of the latest iPhone models on Monday. Batteries in the iPhone 8 and X may have shorter life spans than those in prior models. Typically, phone batteries begin losing their effectiveness after 500 recharges. Up to that point, they can hold up to 80 percent of their charge. After that, it's usually downhill for the battery.
Apple Skirts Tech Addiction Issue in Response to Worried Investors
January 10, 2018
Apple has responded to an open letter from investors who called for the company to address the negative impact of the iPhone on children and teens. Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System have urged Apple to give parents more choices and tools to help ensure that young consumers are using the company's products "in an optimal manner."
New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center
January 5, 2018
A renowned Linux innovator has developed a new mobile operating system, called "Project eelo," in an effort to provide a level of data privacy that traditional Android and iOS devices fail to offer. The new eelo system will allow mobile phone users to regain control over their personal information at a price they can afford, said Gael Duval, who created Mandrake Linux back in 1998.
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Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.