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Bill would strip privacy protections from California students and teachers

March 10, 2017

The legislation, Assembly Bill 165, would “end the application of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to a local educational agency, as defined, or an individual acting for or on behalf of a local educational agency.” The bill defines educational agencies as county offices of education, school districts and charter schools. [...]

How to recognize and fix the “soap opera effect” on your TV

March 7, 2017

It’s hard to describe but you know it when you see it. If movies and fiction TV shows on your new HDTV look more like soap operas, then you might be experiencing the “soap opera effect.” Here’s Consumer Reports explanation This soap opera effect is a common problem that comes up when a feature called smooth motion is activated, causing movies to lose much of their filmic [...]

Facebook beefs up suicide-prevention tools

March 2, 2017

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News In 2010, I attended two meetings with Facebook staff over how the service could help prevent suicides. One meeting was at the company’s headquarters and was attended by representatives from several tech companies, including Yahoo and Google. The session explored industry-wide approaches to the issue. The other meeting, at Lucy Stern [...]

Amazon explains the glitch that crippled sites on Wednseday

March 2, 2017

Amazon Web Services has explained what happened that caused numerous web sites and other Internet services to go down on Wednesday. It was basically, as CNET News phrased it “a typo.” In a blog post, Amazon said: At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 [...]

Disney Research working on over-the-air wireless charging

February 22, 2017

Disney Research is working on technology that may someday allow you to charge your phone or other device simply by walking into a specially equipped room. As Phys.org points out, researchers at Disney built a 16 by 16 room with aluminium panels floor to ceiling and two-inch copper pipe runs vertically that is able to transmit power that can charge compatible receivers. “This new [...]

Get emergency response plus car diagnostics and location with no monthly fee

February 16, 2017

This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News In June I wrote about Hum by Verizon but I’m now testing a similar device that, unlike Hum, doesn’t require a monthly service fee. Listen to Larry’s full interview withAutomatic co-founder Ljuba Miljkovic To review, Hum by Verizon is a device and service that works with almost any car built in the last 20 years that helps you [...]
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