Robert Vinet

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Category: Technology (page 1 of 4)

The Toaster that Costs $270 and Makes Only One Slice at a Time

The obsession with the perfectly toasted slice of bread.

Reed Stevenson writing for Bloomberg:

Perfectly made toast isn’t just an obsession in Japan. It’s a business opportunity.

Over the past few years, there’s been a quiet boom in the pursuit of expertly reheated bread, from high-end toasters and premium loaves, to cafes catering to connoisseurs seeking that satisfying crunch.

Joining the fray is the next best thing for sliced bread, a toaster designed for just one task: making a single piece of toast, flawlessly. Made by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., better known for its workaday refrigerators and rice cookers, the Bread Oven hit store shelves last month, retailing for about 29,000 to 30,000 yen ($270). While that might seem expensive, Japanese consumers are already used to paying top price for toasters; the popular Balmuda, which debuted a few years ago, sold for about $230.

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Updated: Google changes location tracking policy

A few days after an Associated Press investigation about Google’s privacy practices was reported, Google has revised its deceptive description on its website to ‘clarify’ it still tracks user location even after they turn off location history setting.

This affects Android powered devices and iPhones loaded with Google software such as Chrome, Google Maps, etc.

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Google tracks users even when they turn off location tracking

An Associated Press report has revealed that several Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even after users set a privacy setting that is meant to stop Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed AP’s findings.

Associated Press:

Storing location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

So far this year, US telecom companies have successfully stopped 70 state bills that would have prevented them from selling your personal data

Motherboard:

Rewind back to March 2017: Congress voted to overturn a yet-to-take-effect Obama-era FCC regulation requiring ISPs to get permission from customers before collecting their data and selling it to advertisers. It was a victory for corporate giants like Comcast and Verizon, who nevertheless assured everyone that they had no intention of selling their customers’ internet histories.

In the wake of that repeal, about half of the country’s states chose not to take the ISPs at their word, and began crafting their own legislation to restore the FCC’s rules within their borders. Washington, DC is the latest example, and the National Conference of State Legislatures shows close to 70 similar bills on state dockets this year. So far, not a single one has passed.

Watch: The rogue Tesla mechanic that resurrects salvaged Teslas

Switching to a flip phone

Pam Moore:

The objective of my most recent Toastmasters speech was to persuade my audience. I decided I’d try to persuade them to shut their phones off—for a day, for a night, or for an hour. I told them stories about my own digital sabbath and how I feel after 24 hours of being phoneless.

I described the feeling of just being wherever I was, enjoying things like a novel or a movie instead of battling the nagging urge to check my phone. I described the discomfort of being stuck in a crappy situation with no way of texting my husband and begging him to bail me out, only to be pleasantly surprised when he showed up and saved me of his own accord. I described the peace I found in starting my day without the distractions of everyone else’s agendas the second I looked at my email.

I described the clarity, the connection, and the gratitude I felt when my phone was off.

I cited research on the addictive nature of phones, including this staggering statistic: The average American checks their phone 150 times a day. That’s once every six waking minutes.

Newsrooms need to be more critical of technology, acting as watchdogs rather than cheerleaders

Columbia Journalism Review:

There are a number of reasons that such secrecy has become integral to the Valley’s culture, not least the need to protect intellectual property from fast-moving rivals. But the press atmosphere around tech also made it possible. Thanks to a compliant and often cheerleading media, companies could easily control their narratives and shut critics and reporters out.

Hackers have stolen personal health data in Singapore belonging to 1.5 million people, about a quarter of the population

BBC:

It appears that a computer belonging to SingHealth, one of the state’s two major government healthcare groups, was infected with malware through which the hackers gained access to the database.

PC games removing surveillance software after players discovered it was recording their information

Dozens of game developers are removing data collecting software created by Red Shell after players discovered it was recording their information.

Developers and publishers behind Conan Exiles, The Elder Scrolls Online, Hunt: Showdown, Total War, and others have vowed to remove Red Shell – or have already removed it.

More: Wired, Rock Paper Shotgun

Blue Origin successfully lands both booster and crew capsule

TechCrunch:

[Yesterday] at its Texas launch facility, Blue Origin performed its most critical test to date. It performed a live separation test of its crew capsule from the rocket booster and everything performed as expected. The crew capsule fired its escape motor at the right time, sending the capsule higher than it ever has gone before. This successful test is a huge milestone for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, which previously stated that if the test went well it could put the rocket company in position to become operational by the end of the year.

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