Tech Tidbits

Tech tidbits - news during the pandemic slowdown

As we enter into the twentieth year third month of the global pandemic, technology news has slowed down as much as everything else. There aren’t many things to tell you about! Here are a few bits of tech news that have caught my eye in the moments between bouts of weeping about the dismantling of our democracy – pandemic shortages, VR and Half-Life Alyx, the latest phones from Google and Apple, Comcast upgrades, and more. […] continued

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How To Turn Off The Dropbox Desktop App (And Why Is There A Desktop App, Anyway?)

How to turn off the Dropbox desktop app

Dropbox started as a drop-dead simple product for individuals: a folder on your computer that seamlessly syncs with the cloud so you can work with the identical folder on all your other computers. That’s it! That’s all there was to it. Ten years ago, that was revolutionary.

Last year, Dropbox introduced a new desktop app for PCs and Macs. […] continued

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Covid-19 Is Straining The Internet

Server farms under strain from increased streaming & videoconferencing during Covid-19 outbreak

Across the globe, hundreds of millions of people are using their Internet connection more intensely than they did just a few weeks ago. Usage ramped up so quickly that the infrastructure is being stretched past its limits.

I don’t have any tips. You don’t have to do anything differently. It’s just another interesting way that Covid-19 is turning our economy and culture upside down. […] continued

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Location Tracking: Who’s Following You? How Do They Know Where You Are?

Location tracking - Google Maps timeline

Previously:

Location Tracking: They Know Where You Are

Location Tracking: LA LA LA I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOU

Our phones track our movements every minute of every day. We carry around beacons that continuously broadcast their location. Our phones are remarkably efficient surveillance tools.

But it’s not just our phones. […] continued

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Google, Microsoft, And Unethical Behavior

Google & Microsoft choose the dark side to promote their businesses instead of protecting consumers

Two weeks ago, Google changed its web search results to fool you into clicking on paid ads by mistake.

Last week Microsoft announced that an upcoming update for Office will force web searches in Chrome to go through Bing instead of Google – without consent and with no notice.

These are both terrible ideas, the kind of thing that erodes public trust and makes us understandably angry. […] continued

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Rules For Computer And Online Safety 2020

Computer and online safety 2020 - only your vigilance will protect you!

These are the rules for computer and online safety in 2020. 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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Google Real-Time Transcription Is The Coolest Technology Of 2019

Google real-time transcription - ancient version

You can record speech on a Pixel phone with Google’s new Recorder app, and it will transcribe the words into text in real time. You can save the text and search for words later.

You can see captions on any video or spoken audio on your phone. (Not phone calls or video calls – those bring up thorny privacy issues.) […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Data Brokers: The Companies Hiding In The Shadows That Know Everything About You

Tight focus on the data broker industry

Your personal information is being bought and sold by companies that lurk in the shadows. You’ve never heard of them. That’s the way they like it.

This is the most important issue that affects your privacy today.

Let’s start with a tight focus.

Assume there’s a company that methodically scrapes information from public records – drivers licenses, voter registration, property rolls, census and change of address records, birth certificates, marriage licenses, bankruptcy records. […] continued

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Pixel 4 And Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Google Pixel 4 phones are not as terrifying as the reviews would make you think

Google has two new phones, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. They’re quite nice. If you had one, you’d like it. They might not tempt iPhone users to leave the Apple world, but anyone with an Android phone should consider a Pixel 4, now available through all the carriers. […] continued

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Install Google Lens, Then Remember To Use It

Google Lens - visual search with your phone

I’m going to give you a difficult assignment. I want you to install Google Lens on your phone. That’s the easy part. Then I want you to remember to use it until it becomes second nature. You’re flinching, right? We’re maxed out on technology and it’s tempting to use what you already know and not worry about the latest and greatest thing. […] continued

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Google Wants To Surround You With Invisible Assistants

Ambient computing - surrounded by invisible devices

Part 1: Ambient Computing – Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

You don’t notice an automatic door when it opens.

Google, Amazon, and Apple want to make it so natural to interact with their devices that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it. We’ll be surrounded by devices. The more there are, the less we’ll notice them. […] continued

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Ambient Computing: Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

Ambient computing AKA ubiquitous computing

(Sonoma County fires: we have evacuated to a safe place and our house is not threatened. All of our thoughts and best wishes go out to those in danger or suffering losses.)


Hey Google . . .

  • What time is my flight today?
  • How long will it take to drive to Oakland Airport?
[…] continued Read more

Grammar Are For Winners!

Grammar checking made easy with Word, Outlook, G Suite, and Grammarly

Need help with spelling and grammar? Of course you do!

You already get help with your spelling. Microsoft Word and Outlook automatically fix common errors on the fly as you type, and flag possible misspellings with the familiar wavy line. Your phone auto-corrects your errors, which of course works flawlessly.

Artificial intelligence now allows grammar to be checked just as easily as spelling – on the fly, with instant feedback. […] continued

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