jfruh writes: Windows 10 collects much more user data than previous versions of the OS, which resulted in unease from privacy advocates. But the company is still brushing aside complaints, saying that most data collection, while enabled by default, can be opted out of, and that the remainder is non-user-specific "telemetry" that Microsoft needs in order to improve its operating system.
jfruh writes: Even if you're a frequent ocean swimmer, you're much more likely to die in a car accident than from a shark attack — and yet sharks strike fear into people's hearts in ways that directly affect the economies of surf paradises like Australia. That's why the Australian government is working on a host of techologies to detect shark incursions on popular beaches, including drones and smart buoys that can identify potential predators.
jfruh writes: Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has agreed to investigate allegations that Facebook exposes its users' personal data to mass snooping by U.S. intelligence services, following a ruling of the High Court of Ireland on Tuesday. An Austrian Facebook user filed a coplaint with the DPC in 2013 that was originally rejected as "frivolous," but the nation's highest court has mandated an investigation.
jfruh writes: Western Digital's external hard drives with built-in hardware encryption have proven popular with the security-conscious. But now security researchers are saying that the drives have flaws and vulnerabilities, including "backdoor-like features".
jfruh writes: Many startups (and their investors) dream of the cash bonanza that will follow an IPO — but large, mature public company many not have the ability to navigate the industry and make long-term strategic choices once their shareholders start demanding short-term profits. That's one reason why the privately held Dell-EMC combo may be able to outmaneuver its rivals, especially the lumbering, public HP.
jfruh writes: Etsy has long been the home for artisans who want a storefront for their cute, handmade items like jewelry and clothes. But as the company has expanded, it's allowed sellers to put partially factory-made items into their inventory. Now they're getting competition from an unlikely place: Amazon, whose new "Handmade At Amazon" store only sells hand-crafted items.
jfruh writes: The average price of a 4GB DDR3 memory DIMM at the moment $18.50 — a price that silicon tech blogger Andy Patrizio calls "just crazy." Why is it so cheap? The memory business tends to go in boom and bust cycles, but the free availability of Windows 10 means that fewer people are upgrading their PCs, reducing RAM demand — and prices might stay low for another two years.
jfruh writes: More and more research is suggesting that it isn't safe to text or even talk on our phones hands-free while driving, but one brave car company is pushing full-speed in the other direction. Nissan has created a concept car in which every surface, including the entire dashboard and even the seats, is a display device. The car is the result of "extensive" surveys with the younger generation that came to the conclusion that, according to Nissan, young people "feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends."
jfruh writes: Didi Kuaidi is China's biggest native ride-sharing app, and it's using its cash hoard to build an alliance and global giant Uber. On the heels of a $100 million investment in Lyft, the company is also investing in Ola, India's biggest entry in the market. The deals have been described as involving sharing technology and market knowledge.
jfruh writes: Nearly 18 million people were victims of identity theft in the U.S. last year — an alarmingly high number that nevertheless has held steady for the last several years. Victims spanned racial groups and income levels, and about 40% had their credit card or bank accounts compromomised.
jfruh writes: IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyzes images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. Watson turns what it gleans into structured data, making it easier to load into a database and act upon — which is clearly appealing to marketers and just as clearly carries disturbing privacy implications.
jfruh writes: Nigel Wilson of Nottingham was quite a drone enthusiast: he flew a drone over a Champions League soccer match low enough to startle police horses, and at other times flew drones over iPro Stadium in Derby, the Emirates Stadium in north London, and near the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the HMS Belfast and the Shard tower in London. He's been convicted under the Air Navigation Order 2009 and fined £1,800.
jfruh writes: Many starry-eyed startups sincerely believe that their brilliant idea will be the next Facebook and build massive scalability into their apps from the get go. But often launching a new app ready to support tens of thousands of users isn't worth it, as it imposes hardware costs and extended development cycles on systems when they should be at their most nimble and easy to change.
jfruh writes: Harm de Vries, a post-doctoral researcher at the Université de Montréal, is trying to build an algorithm that will sort through pictures on Tinder and OKCupid and pick out women he'll find attractive. His program, built using deep learning techniques, has about a 68 percent success rate, which isn't that bad. (A human friend to whom de Vries described his preferences managed 76 percent.)