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. […] continuedRead more
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? […] continuedRead more
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? […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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.
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
(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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more
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. […] continuedRead more