John Lister

Tue
20
Apr
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Chrome Gets New Features

The Chrome browser is getting a couple of new features that some may find useful. Sharing links and finding previous pages could both get easier. The first feature is already available in Chrome 90, the latest version of the browser for the general ... public. It works on computers, though won't appear on the iOS and Android apps till later. The feature simply lets users create a link that points to a specific location on a page, rather than just containing the URL. The idea is to make is easier to share a link to something specific in a lengthy page. This isn't the same as internal text links ( ... (view more)

Thu
15
Apr
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Use of AI Could Be Banned or Restricted

Proposed laws in Europe would ban some forms of artificial intelligence while restricting others. But critics say the proposals are too vague to be workable in practice. The proposals, expected to be formally published in the next few weeks, come ... from the European Commission. If approved by the European Parliament they could become a regulation that takes immediate legal effect across all European Union countries. It's not yet clear if and how the rules would extend to businesses in other countries as happens with data protection rules. Under the proposals, only AI used by the military or for ... (view more)

Wed
14
Apr
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Phones to Alert Pedestrians to 'Pay Attention'

Android phones could soon warn users to stop using their device when walking. The feature will be "entirely optional." The warnings will come in Google's Digital Wellbeing app. Google's rules say all devices running Android 9 ("Pie") or later must ... have some form of Digital Wellbeing app, with many manufacturers choosing to simply install Google's version rather than create their own. The apps, which are optional to use, have so far concentrated on factors such as monitoring screen time and alerting users how long they have spent using their device in different ... (view more)

Tue
13
Apr
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Courts Divided Over Disabled Access to Websites

A court has ruled a grocery store did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to make its website accessible to blind people. The ruling creates a confused national picture that may well end up in the Supreme Court. The ... current case involves a chain called Winn-Dixie. A blind man brought the case forward after finding three features of the website were incompatible with his screen-reading software: online prescription filling, a store locator and a digital coupon tool. Carlos Gil said this had a discriminatory effect as it meant that visits to physical stores in order ... (view more)

Fri
09
Apr
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500M Phone Numbers Exposed in Facebook Leak

A data leak has exposed the phone numbers of an estimated 500 million Facebook users. The data comes from a breach in 2019, but has just been made public. According to Facebook, the breach was "found and fixed" in 2019, which has raised some ... eyebrows given the company never warned users their details may have been compromised. It argues the data wasn't hacked but rather "scraped" from publicly accessible information through a bug in its feature that lets users find the Facebook accounts of people in their phone contacts. That may not be enough to satisfy data protection officials in several ... (view more)

Wed
07
Apr
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Windows 10 21H1 Spring Update: Not Much to See

The upcoming twice-yearly "major" Windows 10 update looks like it lacks any major features. That could be good news for users who have come to fear such updates causing compatibility issues and software bugs. The spring feature update, currently ... codenamed 21H1, is one of the two big updates delivered each year. This time round it's really not that big in terms of content or impact. Arguably the best news is that the installation is not only optional but should be relatively quick and simple. That's because it's mainly an "enablement package" that simply activates code that's already been ... (view more)

Tue
06
Apr
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US to Spend $100B to Expand Broadband

The US government plans to spend $100 billion to expand broadband availability in the US. The goal is that all Americans should have access to "affordable" high-speed broadband by 2029. The spending is part of a planned infrastructure bill, so it's ... possible the broadband measures may not survive the legislative process. It's a clear sign that the government views Internet access as a key utility, with the broadband measures coming alongside spending to upgrade water networks and electricity grids. Indeed, a White House explanation directly compares the broadband move to the 1936 Rural ... (view more)

Thu
01
Apr
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Smartphone Not a Phone, Claims Samsung

Samsung has claimed its Galaxy S7 handset is not a cellphone. The attempt to take advantage of tax rules failed as a court ruled it most definitely is a phone. The case in South Africa involves the way the country applies import duties to different ... products. The Galaxy S7 was originally in a category simply called "other" in a subcategory of computers. The South African Revenue Service reclassified it last year in the "multi-functional device" category which is where smartphones normally fall. Phone Calls a Secondary Function The reclassification meant Samsung would have to pay more in import ... (view more)

Wed
31
Mar
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Optional Windows Update Fixes Host Of Problems

Microsoft has released an optional update for Windows 10. It's arguably only worth installing for users who've suffered the specific glitches it fixes. The update, KB5000842, is available for Windows 10 versions 2004 and 20H2, meaning any machine ... that received either of the two major feature updates from last year. It's an optional update as it contains fixes which will then roll out in next month's automatic update. That means there's still a degree of testing with these fixes, which makes for a bit of a gamble given how often a Microsoft fix for one problem appears to cause another problem ... (view more)

Tue
30
Mar
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Major Apple Bug Threatens Browser Security

Apple has warned users to check their portable devices to ensure they are up to date. A bug that affects iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches may already be under attack by hackers. The bug affects WebKit, which is the underlying software for Safari and ... any other web browsers which use Apple's operating system iOS. Specifically, it covers the way web content appears and the way browsers keep track of which sites a user has recently visited, allowing features such as the browser back button to work properly. Apple isn't giving many details of exactly how the bug works or could be exploited, which ... (view more)

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