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Google’s new AR stickers let you mix virtual characters with your real photos and videos

December 11, 2017

Here’s an example of my dog Yuri being virtually attacked by Star Wars characters. Disclaimer: No actual animals or animated characters were harmed in the creation of this video. ” Google is rolling out AR Stickers for its Pixel phones.  Once installed it enables you to use the standard camera app to add virtual characters to your own real world photos and videos. AR Stickers is now [...]

Tech Gift ideas for the 2017 holiday season

December 11, 2017

Santa is now using artificial technology to make his list and check it twice and here are some of the tech gifts he’s bringing the nerds and geeks among us boys and girls. IoT devices There are many on the market and most are focused on home automation such as turning on lights and appliances, controlling home temperature or automatic door locks. Often you have to start with a hub, which [...]

Silicon Valley Congresswoman Anna Eshoo on proposed repeal of network neutrality rule

December 9, 2017

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is poised to vote to repeal the Obama era network neutrality rule on what will likely be a 3 to 2 party line. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) wants to keep network neutrality in place. Her Silicon Valley district is home to some of the biggest and some of the smallest internet companies, including numerous start-ups. [...]

What parents need to know about Facebook Messenger Kids

December 7, 2017

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News In 2011, Consumer Reports released research saying that 7.5 million children under 13 were using Facebook in violation of the company’s terms of service that require all users to be 13 or older.  Later that year, a research team led by danah boyd (she spells her name all lowercase) found that 95 percent of the parents whose 10-year-olds [...]

A high-tech walkie-talkie for families that works almost anywhere

December 7, 2017

Republic Wireless has a new take on an old idea. It’s called the Relay and it’s a walkie-talkie for families that works over a 4G LTE cellular network and WiFi so you can use it from practically anywhere. The screenless device, which you control with your voice,  can also be used to play music and has access to Google Assistant so you can ask it questions. The Relay will launch  in [...]

Facebook’s Messenger Kids Is Training Wheels For Social Media

December 4, 2017

Facebook has just launched a standalone app called Messenger Kids, a video chat and messaging app aimed at children under 13. The app is not only a lot safer and more private than apps aimed at teens and adults, but it’s filled with fun features for youngsters and it offers parents control over who children communicate with. The app allows kids to conduct one-to-one or group video chats, [...]

Could VR help reduce sexual harassment?

November 30, 2017

Todd Maddox (photo Amalgam Insights) W. Todd Maddox, a psychologist and contributing analyst at Amalgam Insights, has an interesting proposition. He thinks that virtual reality could greatly improve sexual harassment training. In a blog post, he pointed out that “traditional computer-based approaches do their best to define, describe and demonstrate sexual harassment behavior” by [...]

Apple posts workaround for ‘root’ security flaw

November 29, 2017

Apple has confirmed a serious security flaw in the latest version (called High Sierra) of its Mac operating system. While Apple works to fix the problem, they have published a workaround which, frankly, is a bit complicated to implement. Basically it involves creating a new user, called root, and assigning that user a password. That way, if someone does try to log-in as “root,” they [...]

Safe holiday online shopping tips

November 26, 2017

One of the biggest obstacles to online shopping is the fear of fraud or a security scam and that can be an issue regardless of whether you’re shopping from a web browser or a mobile app. While security is an issue, it’s important not to overblow the fear. If you shop in physical stores you run the risk of getting into an accident on the way, having your car dinged in the parking lot or [...]
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