online

Thu
14
Mar
John Lister's picture

Web Creator Fears Dysfunctional Future

The creator of the World Wide Web (WWW) says it faces a "downward plunge to a dysfunctional future." Sir Tim Berners-Lee said many of its problems were unintended consequences. Berners-Lee spoke to mark the 30th anniversary of him submitting a ... proposal to his managers at European science group CERN for a way to organize data. That technology, based on hyperlinked text, became the World Wide Web. In turn, that helped shape the Internet into something used worldwide by ordinary people. (Source: bbc.co.uk ) Writing an open letter, Berners-Lee noted that the web is now "a public square, a library ... (view more)

Mon
04
Mar
John Lister's picture

Online Chat Tool Charges a Penny Per Character

A new online chat service costs one cent for every character in a message. It appears to be both a business idea and a social experiment. The site has the straightforward name called "Expensive Chat," and has the equally to-the-point description of ... "Spend money to chat with strangers who spend money to chat with strangers." Users can register to pay with their bank card or through third-party payment site "Stripe." Once they are setup, every time they write a message, they'll see a reminder of the price based on its length. They'll have to confirm the message and their willingness ... (view more)

Wed
21
Mar
John Lister's picture

Google Bids $300M for Paywall Support, Combat Fake News

Google says it is investing $300 million to help improve the quality and reliability of online news. It argues that such work is in its own business interests. The biggest change with the 'Google News Initiative' is a couple of steps to improve the ... online experience for people who subscribe to news sites that are behind a paywall. One is that subscribers, once signed up to a news site, will be automatically logged on to it whenever they are signed in to their Google account, saving the need to re-enter passwords. Another change is that people who use this facility will now see a special ... (view more)

Thu
08
Mar
John Lister's picture

Survey: One In Five Have Smart Speakers

Nearly 47 million Americans have a 'smart speaker' device in their home according to a new survey. If true, the devices' user base has gone from almost nothing to one-in-five people in just two years. While models vary, smart speakers are small ... devices that perform two main functions: playing music (often from online streaming services) and answering spoken questions as a quicker alternative to typing something into a smartphone or computer. In some cases they are also used to control home devices such as lights and heating. The study says 19.7 percent of people have access to a smart speaker ... (view more)

Wed
21
Feb
John Lister's picture

Microsoft Details Anti-Malware Cloud-Based System

Microsoft says it used artificial intelligence to not only spot and identify and attempted malware attack, but to block it more than a thousand times in the next half hour. It says the defense was possible thanks to Windows Defender being used ... locally on the victim's computer, as well analyzing the snippet of code using cloud-based antimalware. The company calls it an example of machine learning. This means computers are able to figure things out for themselves, rather than simply following 'true or false' routines that are part of a program. Similar to antivirus, the most basic level of anti ... (view more)

Fri
30
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

How to: Send a Fax Online the Internet for Free

Infopackets Reader Karin S. writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently received a letter in the mail from the government requesting additional information on my account. The letter states that I can mail or fax in my information back to them (they won't ... accept email attachments for some reason). As such, I would prefer to fax the information as that is the fastest method. I would like to know if you can recommend a good, free fax service over the Internet that I can use to send this information? Thanks! " My response: I did a bit of research, and there are two popular websites offering free faxes ... (view more)

Thu
06
Oct
John Lister's picture

Is a Chromebook Right for You?

With smartphones and tablets gaining extreme popularity thanks to low-cost production and ever-increasing CPU speeds, many users are looking at alternatives to Windows when it comes to being able to compute on the go. One system in particular is the ... ChromeBook (laptop) which is based on Google's Chrome operating system. Many major manufacturers produce Chromebooks, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. As of September 2016 there were at least three dozen Chromebook models on the market. What is Chrome OS? Chrome OS is a somewhat similar, but separate operating system to Android ... (view more)

Fri
09
Sep
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: My PC is Infected / Locked, has 1-800 Number. Is it a Scam?

Infopackets Reader "AJ" writes: " Dear Dennis, After having a conversation with Microsoft tech support yesterday, I realized that I was scammed. I took necessary steps to cancel credit card. I do not do business on my machine - just communication ... with friends, etc. I do see that the techs that took my money have done some work on my computer and it seems to run a lot better. Question: is it still harmful to leave my computer as-is, or should I hire another tech to clean my machine again? The people that took my money also gave me their phone numbers so that I can be in contact with them at ... (view more)

Tue
09
Aug
John Lister's picture

Hulu Abandons Free Service; to become Subscription Only

Hulu is ditching its free TV service, though it will still be available in a different form. Analysts believe the move was forced on it by the television industry. Up until now, Hulu users had three options for streaming video online. The free, ... basic service let users watch many network and cable shows the day after broadcast - but only if users watched commercials. In most cases, the five most recent episodes of a show were available online. Customers can also pay $7.99 a month for a "limited commercials" option, or $11.99 a month to cut out commercials altogether. Both of these ... (view more)

Fri
25
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: Do I need a VPN? Are VPNs Safe for Online Banking?

Infopackets Reader Janie T. writes: " Dear Dennis, I wanted to know if I should use a VPN (virtual private network) to connect to my bank website. A service I came across called saferweb.com claims that they will encrypt my connection, but I don't ... know if they can be trusted or not. What do you think? PS: I love your daily infopackets letters - they are very informative. " My response: This is a good question. When visiting saferweb.com I noted the following statements on their site: "Safer Web gives you an extra layer of security against Internet hackers. By hiding your IP, we keep your ... (view more)

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