Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Most Americans think the government is snooping on them

 Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


Encryption button on keyboard

Do we now expect that someone is always looking over our shoulder?


Getty Images

When you’re sending a little email do you worry that some representative of Big Brother is going to try to read it?

When you make a phone call, do you suspect that one government security service or another might choose to listen in at the flick of a switch or click of a mouse?

I only ask because of a fascinating new Pew survey. It specifically examined the Muslim American experience by talking to 1,001 Muslim Americans aged 18 and over between Jan. 23 and May 2 this year. 

It offered, though, some sobering thoughts for all and about all.

As might be expected in our torrid times, Muslim Americans believe that instances of discrimination are increasing. They also say that media coverage of Islam is unfair.

Yet one statistic seems more surprising. It concerns government snooping on phone calls and emails.

A total of 59 percent of US Muslims believe their communications are being surveilled by Big Brother. You might be surprised that its only 59 percent. That leaves 41 percent with a remarkably trusting attitude towards authority. 

And then you see how trusting the general American population is. A fulsome 70 percent of Americans believe the government is monitoring their emails and calls. (The research on the general public was performed between Feb. 7 to 12 this year). 

You might ponder why Americans as a whole are even more suspicious of the government than are Muslim Americans. 

You might also ponder that Muslim American women are just as suspicious as the rest of America (70 percent), while more Muslim American men (52 percent) don’t think it’s likely that the government is surveilling them.  

That is faith.

Neither the National Security Agency nor the Department of Justice responded immediately to a request for comment.

At the heart of all this prevailing suspicion, though, isn’t merely an American culture that places individualism on a pedestal and treats government with the suspicion of a militia member.

Advances in technology have surely made us believe that surveillance must be taking place.

We’ve all come to realize the new digital world has made it far easier for everyone to snoop. 

After all, Google, Facebook and the like seem to magically serve us ads on the basis of exactly what we’ve been thinking about five or 10 minutes ago.

The onrush of artificial intelligence will surely only make this magic more pronounced and accurate. 

Disappearing privacy and embedded suspicion now feel like the norm. We’ve willingly given up a lot of ourselves in order to buy objects more conveniently and tell others about our lives more readily.

Is it too late to consider whether it’s actually a good thing?

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

Special Reports: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/70-percent-think-government-snoops-on-calls-emails-pew/#ftag=CAD590a51e

The big phone season is starting (The 3:59, Ep. 257)

We are on the cusp of phone-launch season, with flagships from Samsung, Apple, Google and others expected. 

With that in mind, we invited CNET mobile reviewer Scott Stein on today’s show to talk about his visit to the Motorola Z2 Force launch event and his expectations for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 reveal next month.

The 3:59 gives you bite-size news and analysis about the top stories of the day, brought to you by the CNET News team in New York and producer Bryan VanGelder.

Check out the extended shows on YouTube.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/the-big-phone-season-is-starting-the-359-ep-257/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Do not buy a new iPad at full price

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The new 10.5-inch iPad is $50 off at Staples until July 29.


Sarah Tew/CNET

We’re seeing discounts on new iPads on almost a weekly basis, with Staples serving up the latest deal: $50 off the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro in both 64GB and 256GB configurations (and all colors), bringing their prices to $599 and $699 respectively. The offer expires Saturday, July 29.

Last week Best Buy had some nice discounts on the iPad Mini 4 and the new entry-level 32GB iPad — it had it for $280 for its Black Friday in July sale.

For comparison, the retailer sells last year’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro 128GB for $525. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro has the bigger screen (in the same body) and a bumped-up A10X Fusion processor.

As the back-to-school season kicks into high gear, expect new iPad deals to appear on a steady basis. Not too long after that, we should start seeing holiday deals too.

It’s also worth noting that if you walk into an Apple Store during the Staples sale and want to purchase a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the Apple Store should match the Staples deal. Last we looked into the matter, Apple Stores will match discounts up to 10 percent of the product’s price from an Apple-certified retailer.   

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/do-not-buy-a-new-ipad-at-full-price/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Elon Musk’s car elevator is the future of sewer drag racing

In a sign that the billionaire tech entrepreneur’s underground road project is continuing apace (and that he’s sick of using regular roads like the rest of us chumps), Elon Musk Instagrammed a video of a car elevator designed to send vehicles underground.

Testing The Boring Company car elevator

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:26pm PDT

He used a Tesla (of course) outside SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

It was a test for Musk’s new venture, The Boring Company, which is currently digging tunnels across LA in a bid to ease traffic congestion and create new transit routes for the future. Musk has previously shared footage of the building work around the elevator, but now, we have lift off (or, more accurately, drop down). 

It’s just the latest in a raft of projects seemingly ripped from the pages of a 1958 sci-fi magazine, alongside the electric cars that forged Musk’s place in the Silicon Valley pantheon, and the space exploration of SpaceX, which is currently set on reaching Mars

I, for one, salute our new subterranean overlord. 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musks-car-elevator-is-the-future-of-sewer-drag-racing/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Niantic CEO blames Pokemon Go Fest mess on mobile carriers

2017 Pokemon GO Fest Chicago

Niantic CEO John Hanke at Pokemon Go Fest in Grant Park in Chicago.


Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

The first Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago on Saturday was a hot mess — like Charizard hot.

Who’s to blame? Niantic CEO John Hanke said software problems prevented some players from being able to connect to the game, but the biggest issue was congested mobile networks.

Pokemon Go Fest was supposed to bring fans of the AR game together to pursue colorful Pokemon creatures. Instead, gamers at the ticketed event complained they couldn’t access the mobile app and bemoaned long lines that caused them to miss significant goings-on. When Hanke went on stage during the event, he was greeted with boos and chants of “We can’t play.”

Hanke laid out what went wrong with the Chicago event in a lengthy blog post Tuesday. While a game software problem was “resolved” quickly, Hanke said many players were unable to access Pokemon Go or the internet throughout the day due to network congestion.

“A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers,” wrote Hanke in the post. “This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokemon GO or other Internet services.”

Hanke said the major carriers were provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data. He added that some carriers also “deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity.” Apparently this still wasn’t enough to support the crowd of Pokemon Go players.

Niantic offered to refund tickets to the event and gave all attendees $100 in Pokecoins, the app’s in-game currency, and a Legendary Pokemon. Hanke said the company would use this as a learning experience for several more Pokemon Go events scheduled this summer. 

Tech Enabled: CNET chronicles tech’s role in providing new kinds of accessibility.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team reminds us why tech is cool.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/niantic-ceo-blames-pokemon-go-fest-mess-on-mobile-carriers/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Monster iceberg breaks up in NASA satellite’s infrared image

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This series of satellite images shows the evolution of the iceberg.


NASA Goddard/UMBC JCET, Christopher A. Shuman

It’s pretty dark in Antarctica right now, but that didn’t stop NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite from using its thermal infrared imaging powers to get a good look at the spectacular iceberg that broke away earlier this month. The floating ice chunk is one of the largest on record.

The iceberg, saddled with the uneventful name A-68, separated from the Larsen C ice shelf and immediately got compared in size to the US state of Delaware and the amount of water in Lake Ontario.

The Landsat view is a composite created from images taken on July 14 and July 21 by the satellite’s Thermal Infrared Sensor. The satellite has monitored the natural phenomenon over the course of its evolution from a thin crack to a full-blown iceberg. 

A full set of Landsat images shows the calving process from February 2016 through July 21, 2017, when the iceberg is clearly separated from the ice shelf.

The large image below shows how small chunks of the iceberg are already separating from the main mass. NASA reports A-68 is currently heading northward on ocean currents. 

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This satellite image from July 21 shows the fresh iceberg broken away from the Larsen C ice shelf. 


NASA Goddard/UMBC JCET, Christopher A. Shuman

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-iceberg-larsen-c-ice-shelf-satellite-thermal-infrared-image-landsat-8/#ftag=CAD590a51e