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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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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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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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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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Google Knows So Much About You That It’s Creepy, But It Might Not Be An Invasion Of Privacy

Google is creepy but it might not be invading your privacy

The term “invasion of privacy” is distracting us from understanding important issues.

Invasion of privacy is frequently thrown around as a core issue where consumers need protection against tech companies. Apple has made it the cornerstone of its marketing.

The European Union has enacted strict privacy laws for websites that obtain any kind of identifiable information about users. […] continued

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The End Of New Product Announcements

New! Improved! Product announcements are starting to go unnoticed

In the last two months, there have been major announcements of new products by every computer and phone manufacturer on the planet. You don’t know about any of them, do you?

On September 12, Apple put on its annual presentation of new iPhones for hundreds of tech journalists, with the same showmanship that it has relied on since the days when Steve Jobs would take the stage in his black turtleneck and wow the faithful. […] continued

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Facebook And Fake Accounts: A Miscalculation Of Scale

A miscalculation of scale

Douglas Adams tells this story in his classic novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

After waging frightful war against each other for centuries, two alien civilizations realized that the Earth was actually the source of the dreadful insult that had started the conflict. The strange and warlike beings sought vengeance by uniting and launching a million fierce star cruisers on a joint attack against Earth. […] continued

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Net Neutrality & SESTA: The Big Will Grow Bigger

Net neutrality & SESTA - the tech giants get bigger

Previously: Tech Giants And World Domination

The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules by the Federal Communications Commission will take effect on April 23.

This week the Senate approved SESTA – a new law that purports to crack down on sex trafficking – after the House approved it last month. […] continued

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Tech Giants And World Domination

Five companies dominate the Internet

Five companies – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft – dominate everything that happens in technology. They arguably wield more power than many governments and they have an outsized influence on the global economy.

These dominant platforms have created barriers for competitors. We haven’t had a major new technology company emerge in more than ten years. […] continued

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Microsoft Is Moving Past Windows

Microsoft stock price 2017

If you’re an individual or small business Windows user, you might have the wrong idea about how Microsoft is doing.

We all tend to generalize from our own experiences. You can be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft’s future is dim when Outlook has just crashed or you’re paralyzed by an unexpected and unwelcome Windows update. […] continued

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Technology Is Boring

Technology is boring

Technology in 2017 is just a bit . . . dull. There’s not much going on. You hadn’t really thought about it but now that I mention it, you know it’s true, right?

Choose your metaphor. It’s a plateau. It’s the calm before the storm. We’re in a holding pattern. We’re almost – but not quite – at a couple of tipping points. […] continued

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Gazing Into The Abyss: Republicans Are Selling Out Your Privacy

Gazing into the abyss - Republicans are selling out your privacy

When you think about the future, you may start to suffer from “abyss gaze,” the depression that settles in when you realize that we’re all doomed. Warren Ellis coined the term in a novella named “Normal,” which tells the story of futurists who suffer nervous breakdowns after discovering that there is no hope for humanity as a result of the trends in whatever area they study. […] continued

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It’s Been Ten Years Since One Of The Most Significant Technology Inflection Points In History – And We Missed It

2007 - ten years since a major technology inflection point

It’s the ten-year anniversary of one of the most important inflection points in history. 2007 was such an eventful year that its significance seems obvious in hindsight, but it’s gone unremarked until Thomas Friedman spelled it out in a new book.

Thomas Friedman, the well-known and controversial New York Times columnist, released Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations a few weeks ago. […] continued

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Google Duo And Communication Overload

Google Duo - simple video chat

Google introduced a new app for video chats last week. Google Duo makes one-on-one video chats as easy as possible, with nothing required except a phone number and someone on the other end who’s running the app or willing to install it. Google Duo doesn’t even require a Google account. Setup takes only a moment, and once it’s set up it literally requires only a single tap to start a call. […] continued

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Microsoft, LinkedIn, And Identity Management

microsoft_linkedin

(Warning: this article gets pretty geeky by the end. Feel free to look away. I’ll try to make the next article about a Dancing Kitten app or something.)

Last week Microsoft agreed to pay $26.2 billion cash to acquire LinkedIn. It’s one of the largest technology industry deals in history. It dwarfs Microsoft’s previous big acquisitions of Skype, Nokia and aQuantive. […] continued

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