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                          Fitness Products Shatter Online Sales Records During Lockdown
                          July 20, 2020
                          As traditional gyms, fitness centers, and health and wellness studios shutter during COVID-19, technology has kicked in to provide a replacement or an alternative for growing numbers of online shoppers. Digital at-home exercise sessions and sales of home exercise and health equipment purchased online are fueling new consumer trends that could permanently supplant old shopping routines.
                          Tech Products That Make It Easier to Stay Home
                          June 15, 2020
                          Being locked up at home can drive people a little nuts. Several technology products have been particularly helpful while sheltering in place, making this semi-forced timeout feel less like a punishment and more like something I could endure. The Atmoph Window 2, for example, looks like a picture on your wall, but inside the frame is a connected 27-inch 4K display that is tied to remote cameras.
                          Rethinking Remote Education
                          June 8, 2020
                          In these trying times, kids have to deal with a lot of stuff they weren't prepared for: a significant loss of weeks of education, damaged GPAs, and no assurance they'll be going back in the fall. However, some schools were able to pivot because they already had implemented remote programs that were mature, easily implemented, and designed by teachers for teachers.
                          Google Aims to Secure Voice Purchases Through Match Feature
                          May 28, 2020
                          Google has undertaken a pilot program for Voice Match. A limited number of users can use the tool with Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and smart displays to make in-app digital purchases on Google Play, or to make purchases from restaurants that enable food ordering through Google. "Many folks used to Google Assistant will take advantage of this convenience," said tech analyst Ray Wang.
                          How to Soup Up Your Home WiFi With Multiple Repeaters and Access Points
                          May 21, 2020
                          Does flaky Internet connectivity have you scrounging for solutions? The COVID-19 pandemic increased our demand for Internet service due to working from home, online learning for kids, and video conferencing with colleagues and family members. For many people stuck at home, Internet connectivity issues became more troublesome in recent months. Use these tips to improve your WiFi performance.
                          How to Solve WiFi Speed and Connection Problems
                          May 14, 2020
                          In theory, all you need is a shiny new router for hassle-free wireless connections in your home or small office. Yet in practice, your wireless reception often will be plagued with interference issues. Interference can cause slow delivery, higher latency than hardwired connections, frequent disconnects and reconnects, and sometimes a complete inability to access a WiFi signal.
                          How to Turn an Old Android Device Into a Cool, Useful Gadget
                          April 2, 2020
                          What do you do with your old Android phones or tablets? That question usually prompts three tired answers. You might trade them in for a new purchase. Or you could resell them on eBay. Probably, though, you will just stuff them in a drawer as emergency backups. Better options exist, however, that would let you continue to get value from your aging devices.
                          COVID-19 Outbreak: Thoughts From the Stay-at-Home Front
                          March 23, 2020
                          Steps can be taken to mitigate the threat of spreading the coronavirus to folks who are sheltering at home. In many cases delivery drivers don't seem to have any protection, and if it's necessary to sign for something, customers are expected to touch a stylus or a screen that has been used by others. Drivers should be practicing social distancing, setting down packages at least six feet away.
                          Philips Hue Vulnerability Shines Light on Possible IoT Security Nightmare
                          February 6, 2020
                          A vulnerability in Philips Hue smart lightbulbs and their controller bridges could allow intruders to infiltrate networks with a remote exploit, Check Point Software Technologies has disclosed. The researchers notified the owner of the Philips Hue brand about the vulnerability in November, and it issued a patched firmware version through an automatic update.
                          From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
                          January 30, 2020
                          We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
                          Few Households Have Taken the Gigabit Broadband Leap
                          January 7, 2020
                          Increasing numbers of connected devices in the home and greater consumption of streaming media are driving consumer demand for faster broadband speeds. In recent years providers have introduced greater service speeds, bundles and pricing models to address widespread consumer churn. The service speed average among U.S. broadband households has increased steadily over the last four years.
                          CES 2020: Prepare to Be Amazed
                          January 6, 2020
                          Every year I look forward to CES being over. That's not because it isn't interesting -- it is. It's because the place is a nightmare to get around, thanks to some incredibly stupid decisions that turn Las Vegas into a gridlocked mess. Coming right after the holidays, it destroys more family vacations than any other event short of a long driving trip with very young children.
                          2010 - 2019: Product of the Decade
                          December 30, 2019
                          As we get to the end of December, I typically pick my product of the year, but this is also the end of the decade, so I'll go back and look at the prior products of the year, name my pick for this year, and then pick my product of the decade. 2010 was an easy choice as the iPad came out and scared the hell out of the entire PC market. Its release made the whole "PC is Dead" thing real.
                          Tech Firms Join Forces to Create Smart Home Connectivity Standard
                          December 19, 2019
                          Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are teaming up on a new Internet Protocol-based standard for smart home device connectivity. Connected Home over IP will be an open source project. A working group will define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. The goal is to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services.
                          Researchers Use Lasers to Hack Smart Speakers
                          November 6, 2019
                          University researchers have discovered a way to issue unauthorized commands to digital assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, Facebook Portal and Siri via laser beams. The microphones in devices like smart speakers, mobile phones and tablets convert sound into electrical signals, but what the researchers found was that the mics react to light aimed directly at them, too.
                          Voice Commerce: It's a Natural
                          November 5, 2019
                          Consumers increasingly are shopping by voice rather than typing on a keyboard or searching on a phone. People are growing more comfortable with voice assistants, as the tech becomes smarter and more conversational every day. "Consumers appreciate the simplicity of using voice to shop," said Shilp Agarwal, CEO of Blutag. "Users can express their purchasing intent much more quickly over voice."
                          Nvidia's New Shield TV Models Add Dolby Vision, Atmos
                          October 29, 2019
                          Nvidia has introduced two new versions of its Android TV-based Shield streaming product. Shield TV and Shield TV Pro are replacements for the last generation of Shield video streamers, which Nvidia introduced in 2017. The Shield TV Pro retains the form factor of its predecessors -- the box-like form favored by the industry generally -- while the lower priced Shield TV is cylinder-shaped.
                          Smart Speaker Apps Caught Snooping Around Homes
                          October 22, 2019
                          Flaws in Amazon and Google smart speakers can expose users to eavesdropping and voice phishing. Researchers at Security Research Labs discovered that developers could create malicious apps for the Amazon and Google platforms to turn the smart speakers into smart spies. Using the standard development interfaces for the platforms, the researchers found a way to request and collect personal data.
                          Google Rolls Out Pixel 4 Phone, Pixelbook, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds
                          October 16, 2019
                          A new flagship smartphone, a slick refresh of Pixelbook Go, some home gadget improvements and a revamp of its wireless earbuds highlighted Google's annual hardware event in New York City. The latest models of Google's flagship smartphone, Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, base priced at $799 and $899 respectively, will have wider distribution, as they'll be available from all major U.S. carriers.
                          Sonos Launches Rent-a-Speaker Pilot Program
                          October 8, 2019
                          Subscription models have taken hold in everything from software to smartphones, and now Sonos is testing the idea in the premium wireless speaker market. The Santa Barbara, California, company has launched a pilot program limited to 500 homes in the Netherlands, which allows consumers to gain access to Sonos hardware for the equivalent of about $16.46 a month.
                          A Peek at Our Wireless Future
                          September 30, 2019
                          Last week I attended a Qualcomm event that took me through the coming wave of both 5G and WiFi 6 products, touched on the millimeter wave, and at least spoke to 6G. From this I think I can begin to picture the world as it will exist by the middle of the next decade, and it is kind of fascinating. Qualcomm has spent nearly $50B -- yes billion -- advancing its wireless initiatives.
                          Amazon Enlists 30 Partners in Voice Interoperability Initiative
                          September 26, 2019
                          Amazon and dozens of partners have joined in a Voice Interoperability Initiative. Their aim is to support multiple, interoperable voice services on a single device so customers can access the one they want by saying the appropriate wake word. Companies involved in the initiative will work to accelerate the state of the art in machine learning and wake word technology.
                          Google Promises Assistant Users More Audio Privacy
                          September 24, 2019
                          Google has announced tweaks to its privacy policy following earlier reports that its Google Assistant software was eavesdropping on user conversations. Although it does not retain Assistant audio recordings by default, according to Senior Product Manager Nino Tasca, the company has increased privacy protections affecting the transcription process used to check the accuracy of responses.
                          Google's Super-Sized Nest Hub Draws Mixed Reviews
                          September 10, 2019
                          The new larger version of Google's Nest Hub smart display has been garnering mixed reviews. It has a 10-inch screen, compared to its predecessor's 7-inch display, and it sells for $229, compared to $129 for the Nest Hub introduced in June. "I like the big screen on the Nest Hub Max, since I was able to watch a football game in the kitchen and still see the score," wrote Todd Haselton.
                          Rethinking the User Interface for Consumer Voice Tech
                          September 9, 2019
                          Voice can provide a simple, compelling user experience, but the path to adding voice controls to any product, service or application is complex. As dominant tech players continue to develop voice-enabled interfaces and assistants, product designers, developers and manufacturers will be forced to rethink the user experience. For many future homes, voice control will be the primary user interface.
                          When Technology Makes Life Harder
                          August 9, 2019
                          The latest Windows 10 update hasn't gone smoothly for many users due to a conflict with an outdated driver for Intel's Rapid Storage Technology. This is somewhat ironic in that RST was designed to improve the performance of storage hardware. Certain versions have slowed the install process, and in some cases the program has made installation of the Version 1903 Windows 10 update impossible.
                          How to Exert Privacy Control Over Your Home Speakers
                          August 6, 2019
                          Amazon, Google and Apple have suspended contractor review of consumer recordings following disclosures that the devices are nearly always listening and have captured personal, business and other delicate human interactions. Consumers using smart speakers and digital assistant apps from Amazon and Google can apply some control over their system settings.
                          How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates
                          August 5, 2019
                          Like many of you, I watched eight-plus hours of Democratic debates last week, and they seem to be getting worse over time. The last effort made it look like CNN was trying harder to create drama than to help people make a choice among the candidates. We have a ton of technology -- some new, some in place for decades -- that could make this process far more informative.
                          AI in Healthcare: Independent Living for Consumers
                          July 22, 2019
                          AI applied to healthcare includes a collection of technologies that enable machines to sense, interpret, act and learn. AI implementations for digital health can be relatively simple when they are focused largely on personal patient engagement, or vastly complex when working with big data sets, highly specialized diagnostics, and the workflows of multiple highly complicated organizations.
                          The Router's Obstacle-Strewn Route to Home IoT Security
                          July 10, 2019
                          It is newly minted conventional wisdom that not a single information security conference goes by without a presentation about the abysmal state of IoT security. While this is a boon for researchers looking to make a name for themselves, this sorry state of affairs is definitely not beneficial for anyone who owns a connected device. IoT device owners aren't the only ones fed up, though.
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