Social media companies fight against fake news

Mockup of fake news on social media

As I wrote about last year, social media and search companies were blamed for the perpetuation of fake news. Many Americans, some of whom disliked the election result, believe this was a major contributor to Hillary Clinton’s loss.  Many of the social media companies deflected blame, and were hesitant to interfere.  As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it, he did not want his company to become “Arbiters of truth”.

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Apple iPhone announcement lackluster at best

Photo Credit: Apple


Today Apple made their big announcement about several products including the much-anticipated (and much leaked), iPhone 8/Plus and iPhone X. The event took place today at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, CA, and was streamed online.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Android user. I tried the iPhone 7, overall it is a great product, but it still wasn’t quite there for me.  It felt like it was missing features compared to my S7. It also doesn’t help that I love customization, and “unapproved” software, still something Apple seems to frown on.  With that said Apple is moving in the right direction with today’s announcements, and maybe one day they will make a believer out of me. Here are my takeaways from today’s event, and various Apple press propaganda.

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Apple expected to make big announcement September 12

If you read tech blogs regularly, you are undoubtedly aware that Apple is set to make major announcement today. The reports indicate that today’s event will make multiple product announcements, including the Apple TV, Apple Watch, and more.  The big announcement that is expected today is the iPhone 8. While some details have leaked, Apple … Read more

Equifax breach response, inept and slow

As has been widely reported, credit reporting and financial data power house Equifax announced early last that a data breach occurred. The breach affected a potential 143 million people, with credit, financial, and personal information stolen.

As an outside observer I have to say that the company’s response has been lackluster at best. They setup a website this week for people to find out they’re affected. I ran my info and it says that I am one of the people who the breach affected. They offered me their in-house identity protection service and insurance for free, but only for a year. When the website first launched they had a clause where by accepting the free offer you surrender your rights to sue. This decision was later reversed amidst pressure, but a serious fax pas none the less. Another problem with the monitoring service offer is that it is not immediately available. That’s right when you click to enroll you get a later date to come back to finish your enrollment. Again not a great look for Equifax. To have users data possibly floating around, but not having an immediate solution is rather aggravating.

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AWS outage hobbling major sites and services


Amazon’s AWS S3 service is having some technical issues that are causing major websites and services throughout the internet to have errors, or to be completely unusable. According to the latest update from Amazon they are “continuing to work to remediate the availability issues for Amazon S3”  and that “AWS services and customer applications depending on S3 will continue to experience high error rates”. The issues seem are connected with Amazon’s “US-EAST-1” data center, located in Northern Virginia. Amazon has not yet stated what may have caused the issues.

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Twitter’s Periscope now has Live 360 degree broadcasting

Image Credit: Periscope Blog

In an announcement yesterday Twitter’s Periscope announced that they will begin rolling out 360 degree live video broadcasting they are calling Live 360. While anybody can view these videos on Twitter or Periscope, only select broadcasters will be able to broadcast in 360. Periscope’s  limited roll out of the feature makes perfect sense. 360 degree broadcasting is more complex than the normal social media live streams. More complex though it is, live video is all the rage these days, 360 degree video is the next logical step in the evolution.

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Are we giving up privacy for convenience?

Amazon Alexa
Photo Credit: Cort S./

While watching the NBC Nighty News today and I saw an a story about authorities in Bentonville, Arkansas seeking the recordings from an Amazon Echo unit in connection with a murder. The authorities seem to believe that the Echo may have recorded something relevant to the murder. They have issued a warrant for Amazon to turn over the recordings. Amazon for their part is holding firm on the side of privacy, and has not yet turned over anything. The legal bar has not been met, in their opinion.

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South Carolina’s Chumley files bill to create law to block porn

Image Credit: © Diana Eller |

South Carolina state representative Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg), has introduced a bill designed to fight human trafficking by blocking pornography on any device sold in the state. According to, the bill will require manufacturers of devices to install digital blocking on all computers and phones sold within the states borders. The manufacturers of the devices would be able to remove the block by paying the state $20 per device sold. The end users of the products would also be able to get the blocks removed by proving their age, confirming they have received a written warning of the dangers, and paying the $20. The proceeds of the fees will go to the states fund to combat human trafficking. It should be noted that Rep. Chumley represents South Carolina’s upstate region, which according to authorities is a “hotbed” of human trafficking activity.

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Hackers stole details for over 1 Billion Yahoo accounts

Yahoo Headquarters (Photo Credit: Coolcesar/Wikipedia)
Photo Credit: Coolcesar/Wikipedia

It is being widely reported that internet company Yahoo was breached by hackers, back in 2013. Yes, you read that right, 2013. Here we are three years later, and it is just now being revealed that account information for a record-breaking billion accounts may have been compromised. If this sounds familiar that is because it is. In September of this year, Yahoo reported a breach resulting in data for over 500 million accounts stolen. However, according to a Tumblr blog post from Yahoo, this attack is separate from the attack that took place in 2014.

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Amazon Go – Physical stores, without checkout lines?

Amazon Go
Image Credit – Amazon

Internet retailing powerhouse Amazon announced its latest venture into the physical marketplace. It is launching a new brick-and-mortar food market it is calling, Amazon GO. Amazon has forayd into various offline markets in recent years. They launched a physical bookstore in Seattle, and 4 more in cities around the country. The Amazon Go stores are advertised by Amazon as “compact”, at about 1,800 square feet, “so busy customers can get in and out fast”. In addition they will use technologies to eliminate lines, and the checkout process altogether.

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