With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, we surveyed our readers, asking them what is making their best gift ideas list this year. Here are their suggestions.
China has started rolling out the Chinese ‘social credit score’, which takes into account, among other things, your behaviors, and your purchases. But don’t think you’re immune if you don’t live in China; companies around the world, including the U.S., are already compiling a ‘social score’ on you. While a “social score” is different in some ways from a “social credit score”, it’s not really that far removed, and the potential is pretty concerning.
In the immortal words of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, don’t panic… that is don’t panic today when you receive a nationwide presidential emergency alert, at 2:18pm Eastern Time via FEMA on your cell phone, smartphone, or other mobile device. It is a test. It is only a test. If it were a real emergency you would receive vital information via this newly launched alert system.
Following on the heels of the fatal accident in which one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, police in San Francisco have said that a self-driving car owned by Cruise failed to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and ticketed the human that was inside the self-driving car. Fortunately in this case the pedestrian was not injured.
The first death of a pedestrian by an autonomous vehicle (self-driving car) has been confirmed by Uber. Uber’s autonomous vehicle struck and killed Elaine Herzberg of Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, March 18th.
Are Amazon Echo’s Alexa, Google Home’s, er, Google, and the iPhone’s Siri making people less polite in general, and making children less polite in particular? Given that none of these personal assistants require any manners, some fear that they are.
Investors and influencers of Facebook and Apple have openly challenged and beseeched the tech giants to acknowledge and address the damage being done to children, adults, and even the very social fabric of society by these companies ignoring, and even intentionally taking advantage of, the addictive nature of Facebook and other social media platforms, and how open to tampering they are, as well as the addictive nature of the iPhone and other electronic devices.
As the next generation of 911 systems is being worked on, experts have fears of an increase in swatting incidents. Swatting is the act of calling in a fake emergency call designed to have a SWAT team deployed to the target’s location. Swatting is often attributed to hostility (or a practical joke) between rival online gamers, although of course people who play online games are not the only ones to call in false 911 calls.
Every once in a while the issues around so-called ‘pink tech’ are revisited. Pink tech is basically when a piece of technology – say a smartphone or a laptop, etc. – is brought out in a pink color, to appeal to girls and women. The issue, says critics of pink tech, is that rather than attending to the actual technology needs of women, they are simply bringing out the same old tech in a new color. We’re not so sure.
No matter where your sympathies lie, nobody can deny that the events in Charlottesville on Saturday were tragic. As tensions that have been simmering for months erupted to a full boil this past weekend, opposing forces have been rallying their respective mobs in ways that harken back to the 1950s and ’60s in this country, and even the 1860s and ’70s. But with a twist: this time the mobs have taken not just to the street, but to social media, and vigilante justice has become online vigilante justice.
Rage clicks are the website equivalent of that person standing near the elevator and repeatedly pushing the button, as if it will make the elevator arrive more quickly, and can be the result of UI confusion, slow loading pages, link errors, and more.
The Internet has sponsored a new self-referential verb: to ‘verbasize’ something. The much more official, and dare we even say accurate, term for changing a noun into a verb is ‘verbing’. You may also recognize the phenomena as something being ‘verbed’, or to ‘verbify’ something (that act being the verbification of a noun), but at least some part of the Internet is now calling it ‘verbasize’.
You may have recently heard about a new social network called Mastodon. Mastodon is an open source, completely free social network that is similar to, and on some level competing with, Twitter. However there are some important differences between Twitter and Mastodon. Here’s what Mastodon is, and what it isn’t.