Articles

Tue
16
Jan
John Lister's picture

Report: Google Home, Chromecast Break WiFi

Several Google devices such as the Google Home and Chromecast appear to be causing temporary WiFi outages on home routers. Google says it's working on the problem, but some critics believe it's a design flaw rather than a bug. Originally it appeared ... the problem was specifically restricted to one gadget, the Google Home Max, and affected only "Archer" brand routers. However, later reports have identified the problem in other models of the Google Home smart speaker, along with the Chromecast range that 'casts' Internet audio and video to a television set. WiFi Dropping Out Reports ... (view more)

Thu
11
Jan
John Lister's picture

Intel and IBM Demo Quantum Computer at CES 2018

Intel and IBM are battling to show off some of the most advanced 'quantum computers' ever made. It's a big step towards incredibly powerful computers that could even replicate the workings of a human brain. A quantum computer takes advantage of one ... of the most curious aspects of physics: that tiny particles can exist in two different states at the same time. This essentially allows a complete rewrite of the mathematics behind computing. Ordinary computers work by turning data into binary code: a string of 0s and 1s. In traditional computers, that involves a series of electronic 'gates' that ... (view more)

Wed
10
Jan
John Lister's picture

Samsung Unveils 'The Wall' - a Massive 146" MLED TV

Samsung has unveiled a massive 146" television, nicknamed " The Wall " (pic). While the size is clearly too large for most homes, it uses a new approach that could mean more choices about television set size in future. Most TV sets these days use ... liquid-crystal displays (LCD). In simple terms, these TV's shine light through tiny crystals that - depending on their electric charge - either pass through and color the light, or simply show a black background that's behind the screen. Samsung's new screen is currently a prototype only. It instead uses what calls a MicroLED ... (view more)

Tue
09
Jan
John Lister's picture

Investors Demand Apple Tackle Phone Addiction

Two of Apple's big investors want the company to tackle 'smartphone addiction' among younger users. They say failing to address the problem now could hurt the company's value in the long term. The call comes from investment management company Jana ... Partners, along with the managers of retirement plans for teachers in California. Between them they hold around $2 billion of Apple Stock, though that is only around one fifth of one percent of the entire company. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) They cited research that says using smartphones too much can mean students don't get enough sleep and pay less ... (view more)

Mon
08
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Can Malware (Spectre, Meltdown) Spy After Reboot?

In regard to last week's article on the Spectre and Meltdown CPU exploits, which affects 100% of all computers made since 1995, user 'rep' had the following question to ask: " Dear Dennis, [Being that this is a hardware exploit], am I right in ... thinking that any passwords, etc, which are stored in the CPU's memory are lost when the computer is shut down? If so, could I simply shut off the computer and reload it every time I want to use Internet banking and would that keep me safe from these exploits? " My response: I posted my original response in the comments section of Friday's article, but ... (view more)

Fri
05
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Spectre and Meltdown Exploits - What You Need to Know

Infopackets Reader Steve P. writes: " Dear Dennis, There has been a whirlwind of news on the Internet regarding the 'Spectre' and 'Meltdown' exploits that affect all microprocessors (CPUs) from 1995 and on. I am afraid my computer is at risk but I ... don't understand all the tecno-talk. Should I be worried? " My response: The short answer is: yes and no, mostly no (once patches are released). At the end of this article I'll offer advice on what you can do to stay protected. What does the Spectre and Meltdown Exploit Mean? I have been following the news for the last few days and here is what I ... (view more)

Thu
04
Jan
John Lister's picture

Politician: Tech Firms Should Fight Terror or Pay Tax

A politician says online companies that don't do enough to help fight terrorism should be punished through the tax system. Ben Wallace's argument is based on the idea that one-off fines don't make enough difference to hugely profitable companies. ... Ben Wallace, a British government politician responsible for security issues, called technology companies "ruthless profiteers" in an interview with the Sunday Times. He complained about some companies refusing to hand over details of users alleged to have encouraged or incited terrorism, saying the companies "will ruthlessly sell our ... (view more)

Wed
03
Jan
John Lister's picture

ISP Issues Bizarre Warning to Customers Engaged in Piracy

An Internet provider has warned customers that "pirating online content could affect thermostats and security cameras." But the explanation is something of a stretch. The warning comes from Armstrong Zoom, an Internet Provider that serves several ... states from Ohio over to the Washington DC area. It's written to customers whose connections have reportedly been used to infringe copyright. The letter says customers won't face immediate action but will face sanctions for repeat offenses. That's similar of an industry-wide effort that tried to cut down on piracy (including a 'six strike' ... (view more)

Tue
02
Jan
John Lister's picture

Websites Face $60 Million Fine for 'Illegal Content'

Social media sites could face fines of almost $60 million if they don't remove hate speech and other illegal posts within 24 hours of receiving a report. The new German law has prompted Facebook to recruit hundreds of staff. It's the result of the ... Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz law, which is known as NetzDG for short, and literally translates as Network Enforcement Act. (Source: BBC.com ) Libel And Hate Speech Both Covered The law doesn't change what content is allowed and not allowed. Instead, it says that sites must remove any content that is "obviously illegal." A prime example is ... (view more)

Fri
29
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Run Batch Script as Administrator (Without Password)

Infopackets Reader Barry S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I read with interest your article on how to shut down Mozilla Thunderbird gracefully using a series of 'taskkill' commands. The issue I have is that Thunderbird eats an enormous amount of memory if ... I leave it running over a period of 24 hours or more. When I try and send an email, the words in the email window (as I'm typing them) come out in spurts. This drives me crazy as I am a fairly quick typist. I tried setting up a batch script to run (using Task Scheduler) to gracefully close Thunderbird and restart it every 24 hours, but for some ... (view more)

Thu
28
Dec
John Lister's picture

Library Of Congress Abandons Twitter Archive

The Library of Congress has abandoned a project to archive every post made on Twitter. It blames the sheer number of "tweets" now being made, along with an increasing reliance on images and videos. The library is the world's largest and collects all ... manner of documents from newspapers to government forms. As a general rule it, doesn't aim to collect all possible data from a source but made an exception for Twitter in 2010. At that point it reached an agreement with Twitter to get a copy of its complete archive of posts, then dating back to 2006. The idea was to "document the emergence of ... (view more)

Wed
27
Dec
John Lister's picture

Apple Admits: Older iPhone Models Purposely Slowed Down

Apple has admitted it deliberately slowed down older iPhones, saying the move improved performance. It's ended years of speculation, but sparked a flurry of lawsuits. Every time a new iPhone comes out, a conspiracy theory emerges that older iPhones ... suddenly started getting slower. Critics claimed Apple was deliberately slowing down the models so that people would be more tempted to upgrade to the new model in the hope of regaining their former performance. Apple has always denied this and a study a couple of months ago found no clear pattern of processor performance and speed slowing down, ... (view more)

Fri
22
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: in terms of Net Neutrality, will a VPN Stop ISP Throttling, Filtering?

Infopackets Reader Corey S. writes: " Dear Dennis, With the FCC repealing its plans to protect net neutrality in which all Internet traffic is created equal, will Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) make any difference what Internet Service Providers ... (ISPs) will be able to monitor and control when it comes to Internet traffic? For example, if there is no net neutrality and suddenly my Internet Service Provider wants to charge me extra to visit Netflix to view movies online, will a VPN help? Will a VPN help in terms of Blocking and Filtering, Internet Fast Lanes, Throttling, Zero Rated Services? ... (view more)

Thu
21
Dec
John Lister's picture

Uber Ruling Could Affect Other Tech Companies

A European court has ruled that Uber is a transport company rather than a tech business. It may not make an immediate difference to its operations, but could be a big step in the way online companies are regulated. Uber, which describes itself as a ... ride-hailing firm, lets users hire a cab through a smartphone app, then pairs them with self-employed drivers in the area. The ruling by the European Court of Justice stemmed from attempts by city officials in Barcelona, Spain to hold Uber to the same local regulations as traditional taxi services. The legal principle determined by the case now ... (view more)

Wed
20
Dec
John Lister's picture

'Password' Still a Common Password in 2017

A security company has released its list of the worst passwords of 2017. As always with this annual survey, it tells us more about culture than security practices. The list comes from SplashData, which compiles the rankings based on how many times ... particular passwords appears in leaked lists of user databases (mainly among English language users). The survey this year totaled more than five million passwords, though it's worth noting the company deliberately excluded leaks of passwords from adult sites. (Source: cnet.com ) The most common are hardly any surprise with "123456" beating out " ... (view more)

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