Privacy And Trust Part 1: Data Collection By The Tech Overlords

Privacy & trust in the era of tech overlords

Tech companies know all your secrets.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are studying your every thought, word, and deed. AI analysis has already given them spooky abilities to predict your behavior for advertisers, with enough accuracy to make them the richest companies on the planet. Now they are exploring ways to influence your behavior, which opens up tremendously difficult moral, legal and political questions. […] continued

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Breaking News: February 18, 2019

Hot off the press! Breaking news!

I’m trying to get my thoughts in order for a couple of long articles about how to think about privacy in our world of surveillance by giant tech companies. That’s not quite ready yet. Now, now, don’t be disappointed, get a grip on yourself – it won’t be long before you have a chance to read four or five thousand words about things that I’m poorly qualified to talk about, and won’t that be fun? […] continued

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Improve Your Home Wi-Fi By Meshing It Up

Google Wifi - mesh networks improve coverage

Got any Wi-Fi dead spots in your home? You can improve Wi-Fi coverage in your home more easily than ever before. There’s new Wi-Fi technology – “mesh networking” – that dramatically improves Wi-Fi signal strength without requiring any technical expertise. You’re feeling smug because you know all about Wi-Fi “extenders”, right? […] continued

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Microsoft Thinks The Future Belongs To Teams (And It Might Work For You, Too)

Microsoft Teams - the hub for teamwork in Office 365

Microsoft Teams is an Office 365 service that businesses can use for their employees to chat and collaborate, providing an alternative (and perhaps a replacement) for email inside the company. Although it’s relatively new, Teams has quickly become a strategic priority for Microsoft.

Many Office 365 services only make sense for large enterprises, but Teams might be the exception that even small businesses should closely examine. […] continued

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All Things Must Pass: Say Goodbye To Windows 7

Prepare to say goodbye to Windows 7

Windows 7 was released almost ten years ago. Those are human years; in technology years that is roughly the length of the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

There’s no crisis. You’re not required to throw away your Windows 7 computers tomorrow. I understand that you’re comfortable and you don’t want to change anything and you want those kids to stay off your lawn. […] continued

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Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2019

How to be safe using a computer in 2019

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2019. You can download a copy here.

Only your vigilance will protect you against bad guys. You will be safe if you are cautious. Stop and think before you click on links, before you call unfamiliar phone numbers, before you install programs, and before you fill in passwords. […] continued

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How To Pin A Chrome Shortcut To The Taskbar

Google Chrome

Google has changed the steps required to pin a website to your Windows 10 taskbar. It’s still possible but it takes a bit of extra effort.

There are some websites that fit your workflow best when they are running in their own separate window. When you set up a website to open in its own window, it shows up separately on the taskbar so you can switch to it easily, and you won’t close it by accident when you’re closing 12 other tabs in your main Chrome window. […] continued

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Security Tip: The Bad Guys Can Spoof The Sender’s Name And Email Address On Malicious Messages

Email address spoofing

Let’s start with two familiar security principles.

•  The bad guys can make any name appear as the sender of a malicious email message.

•  Frequently the email address does not match the name. It’s one of the indicators that a message is fake.

The screenshot above is an example. You should always look at the email address of the sender before you click on anything in an email message. […] continued

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It’s Not Just Your Computer – Everything Is Too Hard To Use (And It’s Not Your Fault)

It's not just your computer - everything is too hard to use

I wrote an article a few years ago about how difficult it is for non-tech people to manage the fiddly bits required to run a Windows computer. It’s one of the things that drove the transition from computers to phone and tablets.

An interesting thing is happening today. The explosion of devices, products and services is causing just as much confusion and frustration in the world of mobile devices. […] continued

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Bloomberg And Chinese Spies: The Strangest Technology Story Of The Year

Bloomberg Businessweek - The Big Hack

The Chinese government has put secret spy chips on US government servers. They’re stealing secrets from Apple and Amazon. And the US government is engaged in a massive effort to prevent us from learning anything about it, for unknown reasons.

Maybe.

How about this: the US government is mounting a full-court disinformation campaign, spreading lies through multiple sources to discredit China and gain an advantage in trade wars – and taking down a huge media entity as collateral damage. […] continued

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The 2018 Bruceb News Year In Review

Bruceb News Year In Review 2018

Remember when I wrote an article a year ago predicting that always-connected computers would be heavily promoted in 2018?

Yeah, about that: not even close. Nada. All the buzz died away when the first PCs in that category turned out to be underpowered and, well, pretty awful.

Okay, that prediction didn’t pan out. […] continued

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Spotify Wrapped: My Top Ten Is Better Than Your Top Ten

Bruceb Spotify Top Ten 2018

(This will be the last Bruceb News article for 2018. I’ll return with more news next year, if anything interesting happens. Remember, a subscription to Bruceb News makes a lovely last-minute Xmas gift. Happy holidays!)

Spotify has launched its annual Spotify Wrapped website, where you can look back on your year of music listening, including your top artists and top songs, the number of minutes you listened to Spotify during 2018, and more. […] continued

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Algorithms And Paperclips: How Facebook Drives Us Apart

facebook_engagement_division

 

A famous thought experiment shows how an AI could be designed with good intentions and without malice, and still wind up destroying humanity.

Imagine that an artificial intelligence is told to maximize production of paperclips. Through an oversight it is not given any instructions about also considering human values – life, learning, joy, and so on. […] continued

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Put A Google Home Hub On Your Xmas List

Google Home Hub - the best 2018 home assistant

The Google Home Hub is my favorite home assistant. Put it on your Xmas list, or sneak one under the tree for yourself. If your pictures are stored in Google Photos, then the Google Home Hub is worth the investment just because it is the best photo frame ever. But Google Home Hub stands out for everything else it does, too, so it’s highly recommended unless you are already so deep in the Amazon Echo ecosystem that it doesn’t make sense to switch. […] continued

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Microsoft Has Not Made Any Progress On Sorting Out Its Personal And Work Accounts

Microsoft's dueling identity systems

Microsoft has two giant identity systems set up by different divisions of the company – one system for personal accounts, a different system for “work or school” accounts. It’s confusing. There is a team at Microsoft trying to make it less confusing; they may be doing things behind the scenes but there has not been any visible change in the last two years. […] continued

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