Recent Updates Page 3 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:28 am on September 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ride sharing, Uber   

    Google set to take on Uber and will probably win 

    Google set to take on Uber and will probably win

    Google has recently made public their own plans to start a ride sharing service not too dissimilar from Uber. Rather than have a fleet of drivers, the Google program will have volunteers who will drive people going in the same direction as them, so it’s more like a hitchhiking program than a ride sharing program, but it still cuts into Uber’s market share and reportedly at a lower price.

    Normally, this would be a good thing as competition usually breeds innovation, that’s not always the case when it comes to the search giant, they usually have a more of a scorched earth policy. Think of all the products that Google got into late in the game like search, email and maps. They took these products that many others had been doing for years, perfected them, and crushed the competition. No one uses Altavista or Mapquest anymore, and when Gmail users see that one of their friends still uses Yahoo mail they tend to roll their eyes at the address.

    While Google’s proposed program might vary differently from Uber’s it could only be a matter of time before Google perfects the ride sharing experience and Uber becomes the butt of tech based humor, much like MySpace became after the dawn of Facebook.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Analogue Nt mini, ,   

    Would you buy a $449 NES? 

    Would you buy a $449 NES?

    The Analogue Nt mini

    I have fond memories of my original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game console. I remember countless hours spent with my friends playing Super Mario Bros. and Tecmo Bowl, while also putting epic hours playing the initial installment of Final Fantasy. I also had not so fond memories of the popular system. I’m sure those of us who were around remember blowing into the cartridges to try to get them to work, even though that did more harm than good. I also remember shoving in a cartridge on top of another cartridge to get a game to work.

    Now, yes in 2016, a company called Analogue has made what may be considered the ultimate NES system. The Analogue Nt mini is a modern update of the original NES that is not only made out of brushed aluminum but is capable of being played on today’s HDTVs. The only thing you need to provide are the actual NES cartridges from 30 years ago and the $449 it costs to actually buy the system. Also due to the fact that the Analogue Nt mini is made from some original NES parts supplies may be limited.

    While this might be on a lot of gamers’ wishlists, not too many of us still have all our NES cartridges. I sold all of mine so I could buy the Super Nintendo. However, I know plenty of hardcore gamers that have either kept their collection or have amassed a collection over the years that would make the Analogue Nt mini a perfect addition to their collection.

     
  • Geebo 10:02 am on August 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Megyn Kelly, , trending topics   

    Facebook’s new trending topics backfires 

    Facebook's new trending topics backfires

    Facebook has had some controversy when it came to its trending news topics. At one point they were criticized for allegedly suppressing news from conservative news sites. They’ve also recently said that they would be cracking down on clickbait articles that continue to pollute people’s newsfeeds. That’s not to mention the amount of fake news that gets posted to Facebook everyday that sends droves of us to Snopes.com. So this past Friday, Facebook fired its human curation staff and replaced them with what was supposed to be an impartial algorithm. So what did the algorithm do? It made a fake clickbait story a top trending story.

    The story in question claimed that Fox News personality Megyn Kelly was being fired from the conservative news outlet for backing Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The problem, besides the story being absolutely not true, was that the website featured for the story was a blog, that quoted another blog, that quoted another website, that took a quote from a Vanity Fair article out of context in one of the more weird instances of the telephone game.

    In the grand scheme of things this will have little to no effect on Facebook in general. Facebook is one of those companies that neither do no right nor do no wrong because they have no competition. Where else are you going to go to know what your friends and family are up to? Until someone comes up with a better product than Facebook, with its over 1 billion users they can make all the wacky experiments they want on their website and we’re all just tiny little specimens in their petri dish unable to do anything about the mad scientists who are poking and prodding them.

     
  • Geebo 11:02 am on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: great lakes, J.W. Westcott II, mail, shipping   

    Sometimes the old school ways are still the best 

    Sometimes the old school ways are still the best

    The J.W. Westcott II

    There are a number of us who get impatient when our online purchases aren’t delivered within 24 hours. Then there’s the few of us who are looking forward to the day when drones make all our deliveries. Then there are some of us who sigh at our phones in disgust when our Uber or Lyft rides don’t show up right away. Now imagine being stuck on a freighter ship for weeks or months out on the Great Lakes, then what do you do? That’s where the J. W. Westcott Company of Detroit comes in.

    The company has a vessel, named the J.W. Westcott II, that has been commissioned by the US Postal Service to deliver mail to crew members abroad these freighters. The company even has its own zip code of 48222. It also makes its money by delivering supplies to ships as well. Speaking of money the vessel collects some its fees through a bucket that the vessels lower down to collect their mail or supplies. The Wescott also can deliver crew members to ships already out on the water, so in that instance it’s sometimes the Uber of the Great Lakes.

    So while you’re waiting for Instacart to deliver your latest request from Whole Foods, keep these people in mind who are out on ships waiting days just for a handful of coffee pods.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , pac-man, solitaire, tic tac toe   

    Shall we play a game? 

    Shall we play a game?

    Come on. Be honest. You’re not going to get a lot done today. It’s Friday, the boss has left early for the weekend and the phones are pretty quiet. The problem is that the IT Department has stripped anything even remotely fun from your computer. So if you’re looking for something to keep you occupied while the minutes slowly tick away until quitting time, Google has got your back.

    As of yesterday, if you go to Google Search and type in either ‘tic tac toe’ or ‘solitaire’ you’ll now be able to play those games within your browser. This works on both desktop and mobile platforms. These are just the latest tricks you can do with Google Search dating back to when they fist introduced the ‘do a barrel roll’ trick. Google has also put games in browser before as it once put a PAC-MAN game within the Google Doodle when it was celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th anniversary.

    The fact that Google chose tic tac toe as one of their games reminds me of the 1980s movie War Games and how Matthew Broderick’s character had to have the military supercomputer play itself in tic tac toe in order to prevent nuclear Armageddon. Back then, even the most rudimentary video games required either a console or computer. Now in a lot of instances we only need a browser or an app. In case you’re not that old and have always lived with more complex games, appreciate what you have now because you will see many more amazing technological advances in your lifetime.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on August 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money-flipping,   

    Instagram scam targets those who follow their bank 

    Instagram scam targets those who follow their bank

    An internet security company has made public that there is a scam being proliferated through the photo sharing app Instagram. The scam, known as ‘money-flipping’, appears to target users who follow any kind of financial institution on Instagram. The scammers will message a user telling them they know a trick to make quick money while the scammer’s Instagram account contains picture that flaunt wealth and cash. The scammer will then request the victim’s bank information to transfer some money to and then will only take a percentage of the money back.

    If this sounds familiar it’s because it’s a variation of the fake check scam. The fake check scam targets people who sell items online where the scammer will send a check that’s more than the amount asked. The scammer will then say they made a mistake and then will ask for the excess money back, usually to be wired somewhere. The checks then turn out to be fake after the victim has already wired the money back so then the victim is on the hook to the bank for the money they’ve wired and the scammers are long gone. With the money-flipping scam it’s all done electronically and you’ve been taken for a ride before you even know it.

    Instagram claims that this is only a small problem on their network, however as with any get rich quick scheme, if it sounds too good to be true it almost definitely is.

     
  • Geebo 12:59 pm on August 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is the internet as free as it should be? 

    Is the internet as free as it should be?

    The first webpage

    Yesterday was celebrated as the 25th anniversary of the internet. While that date may be in question, WIRED has published a great article on whether or not the web has lived up to its promise.

    WIRED supposes that the internet was intended to give everyone in the world a voice and not just a select few who have the resources to shout their voice over everyone else. While mostly everyone on the internet has an opportunity to voice their opinion and stories, we are still beholden to a chosen few gatekeepers. For example, if you want to be any kind of content creator you have to follow Google’s ever-changing rules to receive higher rankings in their ubiquitous search engine. Facebook has created a walled garden determined to keep its users within their website. If you want to get people to view your content, it’s almost a requirement that you have to promote your work on Facebook. Want to use Twitter or Snapchat to share your internet voice? You’ll still have to abide by their terms of service and you could lose your voice at their whim.

    While the idea of an internet that is totally free is a great idea the reality is that without some of these gatekeepers the web would be a disorganized mess. Prior to the advent of Google, searching on the web was far from an exact science and finding what you wanted was often a time-consuming chore. While Facebook may be keeping their users in their gates at least you can go and share your voice where mostly every one can see it. Without this kind of organization the web would just be a chaotic mess and may have only been a passing fad.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: censorship, , , , , Tom Scocca   

    Gawker writer: Censorship is for sale 

    Gawker writer: Censorship is for sale

    True censorship can only come from the government since it’s the First Amendment that guarantees a free press. However, Gawker writer Tom Scocca makes the case that a free press is threatened by those who can afford to have the press bent to their will.

    In his post entitled ‘Gawker Was Murdered by Gaslight’, Mr. Scocca makes the point that only one person killed Gawker and the man holding the smoking gun is none other than Peter Thiel. Scocca makes great points about Thiel’s personally financed vendetta against Gawker, especially with the infamous Hulk Hogan lawsuit. He points out that without Thiel’s backing the Hogan lawsuit was without merit since federal courts ruled that the publishing of excerpts from Hogan’s sex tape was considered newsworthy and therefore protected speech. It’s also pointed out that media outlets have insurance policies for such lawsuits and Mr. Scocca not only points out that the New York Post settled out of court for publishing pictures of two men they thought were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings, but also that in previous instances Gawker never had to pay anything close to a million dollars for any such mistakes prior to Mr. Thiel’s revenge by proxy campaign.

    According to Gawker, Thiel just kept throwing money at more lawsuits for anyone who perceived that they may have been wronged by Gawker. He basically bankrupted Gawker in a war of attrition by outspending them all because Gawker outed Thiel as gay, which as salacious as that may sound was also considered newsworthy therefore also protected. After the $140 million judgement was ordered against Gawker they were immediately denied any kind of appeal in court. That sounds a lot like Peter Thiel’s money speaking for the court and since the court is part of the government maybe Gawker’s death is true censorship after all.

    Peter Thiel should not be mistaken as some kind of privacy champion. Instead he should be seen as the public face of a number of entitled billionaires who are buying favorable press and financially crushing any dissension.

     
  • Geebo 10:01 am on August 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lifestage, , ,   

    Facebook announces new app aimed at teens 

    Facebook announces new app 4aimed at teens

    Over the weekend, Facebook announced a new standalone app aimed at teens called Lifestage. Not only is it meant to be a competitor to Snapchat, but it’s also said to return to Facebook’s roots. Facebook’s first incarnation was a social network geared specifically toward college students. Lifestage, which so far has only been released for iPhone, is geared towards users that are 21 and under and is supposed to help you get to know the classmates at your school as the app is very school-centric.

    As is the norm with most apps geared towards kids and teens, there are some security concerns. The first is that there is no actual age verification system for Lifestage, so it has the potential to be abused by offenders. Another issue is that Facebook doesn’t say what the under in 21 and under is. The closest to an age limit that I’ve found was the rating on the Apple app store which says that app is rated 12+. Lastly, since the app is so focused on schools it has the potential to be used for cyberbullying.

    This is not to say that Lifestage doesn’t have its advantages. For example, a user can only list their school once. This prevents potential offenders from changing schools to in order to target new victims at a different school. Lifestage also has a feature where someone can be blocked with a single swipe.

    However, like most apps Lifestage is just a tool. While most apps have security concerns or features, the only true defense between potential predators and kids are parents that are actively engaged with their child and their social network use.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Univision   

    Gawker: The Final Chapter 

    Gawker: The Final Chapter

    After losing its infamous lawsuit against Hulk Hogan and declaring bankruptcy, Gawker Media was purchased for $135 million. While tech media publisher Ziff Davis was an early suitor, the network of blogs under the Gawker banner were purchased by Spanish language TV network Univision. However, after the purchase was made final, it was announced that Gawker.com itself will be shuttered next week after 14 years of being online. Gawker founder, Nick Denton, announced that Gawker itself was unable to find a buyer while properties like Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku were worthwhile to their purchaser.

    While some may celebrate the demise of Gawker it has set a dangerous precedent that if you have enough money you can silence any media that is unfavorable to you. The Hulk Hogan lawsuit, and others, were admittedly funded by Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel after Gawker outed Thiel as gay some years ago.

    If we’re not careful, we could be seeing the start of an era where freedom of the press could be squelched by the super rich elite if the media crosses them.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel