Category Archives: Tech

Millions of Kids Are Being Shaped by Know-It-All Voice Assistants | NDTV Gadgets360.com

Many parents have been startled and intrigued by the way these disembodied, know-it-all voices are impacting their kids’ behaviour.
— Read on gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/opinion/millions-of-kids-are-being-shaped-by-know-it-all-voice-assistants-1665881

Do we want Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc. raising our kids? Are #tech values the right ones?

Design of Everyday Things

DesignOfEverydayThingsOne of my favorite books: The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded Edition  By Don Norman [@jnd1er] – jnd.org

From the Preface: “This is a starter kit for good design. It is intended to be enjoyable and informative for everyone: everyday people, technical people, designers, and non-designers. One goal is to turn everyone into great observers of the absurd, of the poor design that gives rise to so many of the problems of modern life, especially of modern technology. It will also turn everyone into observers of the good, of the places where thoughtful designers have worked to make our lives easier and smoother. Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible, serving us without drawing attention to itself. Bad design, on the other hand, screams out its inadequacies, making itself very noticeable.”

See More (jnd.org)
https://www.jnd.org/books/design-of-everyday-things-revised.html

My Take From Brownie Bytes

I’ve used these principles for every product, marketing, website, and content I’ve ever worked on – since the first edition of this book. You would be wise to do the same.

Google Sued Over Tracking User Location Amid Privacy Concerns

googlemapslogoGoogle is facing a lawsuit for its collection of location data even when users turned off location services.

The suit came just four days after a report from the Associated Press about Google’s data collection practices. Google user Napoleon Patacsil’s response was to go to court.

“Google expressly represented to users of its operating system and apps that the activation of certain settings will prevent the tracking of users’ geolacation,” Patacsil’s lawyers wrote in a legal complaint filed on Friday. “That representation was false.”

See More (CNET)

New Study Suggests that Google Collects More Consumer Data than Users Think (Way More)

GoogleWatchingYouBy Garett Sloane [@GarettSloanePublished on August 21, 2018

Google sucks up consumer data in ways users might find surprising—such as when browsers are in “incognito” mode—according to an analysis of the company’s data collection by a researcher from Vanderbilt University.

The study, released Tuesday and commissioned by the trade org Digital Content Next, looks at how data is gathered from all Google products, including Android mobile devices, Chrome web browsers, YouTube and Photos. In addition to incognito data collection, the study looked at other “passive” means of collection, where “an application is instrumented to gather information while it’s running, possibly without the user’s knowledge,” the report says.

Many users assume that when they’re in the incognito setting, their online footprints are hidden. But Google could retroactively link the private browsing to specific consumers, the report points out.

As the reports puts it: “While such data is collected with user-anonymous identifiers, Google has the ability to connect this collected information with a user’s personal credentials stored in their Google Account.”
——
“While such information is typically collected without identifying a unique user,” the report says, “Google distinctively possesses the ability to utilize data collected from other sources to de-anonymize such a collection.”

Read More (AdAge)

Our Take by BrownieBytes

You knew they were doing it didn’t you?  Of course.  Instinctively we know they all do…. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… They all do it.  Interesting article.  Worth the read.

Study from Vanderbilt professor finds Google tracking is even creepier than you thought

https://bgr.com/2018/08/21/google-spying-on-users-new-study/

The Best of Off-Network Streaming Video News

I’ve been doing some research on video news delivery over the Internet and found these as some of the best.

Why off-network? Because the TV, cable, and satellite news providers have a formula to get you to watch their commercials and it drives most of us crazy – long on tease and promotion, short on information and actual news.

You can spend a half hour watching network or local affiliate news and get about 8-12 stories. Who has time for that? I really don’t care to watch their non-stop fancy production graphics and their promos. Get to the news already! Those same 8-12 stories can be delivered in 10-15 minutes without all the fluff.

The news videos I found are not big on hi-end video production values but they provide a lot of information in their broadcasts.

Vimeo has over 13 thousand videos in their “news” and reporting & journalism categories. That includes a lot of promo videos masquerading as news, video news packages from Iran, Vietnam, and other countries, trade show video news segments, etc.

YouTube has a mix of the usual networks, local affiliates, government or quasi-government video (like Voice of America), corporate news, and much more… 7.5 billion videos that are tagged “news.” Virtually every possible media outlet has a YouTube Channel.

Here’s just a few of the good streaming news productions that provide great information to their audiences (doesn’t include the usual networks for the above reasons):

Tech News Weekly

Science News
Non-Profit Society for Science & the Public has been published as a magazine since 1922. They started their YouTube Channel in 2013.

This Week in Palm Beach (Full Disclosure: R. Michael Brown from Brownie Bytes writes and produces this)

Australian Mid-Western Regional Council Community News

Post-lite weekly news and events for the week from Lorton Valley, Virgina Star newspaper, with Valerie Nalls of Nalls Produce

What makes these broadcasts great is the writing and producing!  The audio for the most part is not off-the-cuff, it’s planned out, not lots of useless banter from the anchor or between those on the screen, and the visuals match what is said.

Seems simple, right?  Believe me there is a lot of streaming drivel out there. Chatty intros and what must be inside jokes because I didn’t get it.  Moving powerpoint like screens with voiceover, or no audio at all – just text on the screen to read – YIKES!  Reading videos?

Of course there are many streaming news services. The more the subscribers, the higher production values. Listed in order of views or subscribers:

YouTube News (34 million subscribers)
This is the aggregation of what Google (YouTube owner) deems a news outlet.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYfdidRxbB8Qhf0Nx7ioOYw

The Young Turks (4 million subscribers)
Liberal (they say Progressive) streaming site.
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks

Russia Today [RT] (2.8 million subscribers)
RT is a global news channel broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios.
https://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday

Vice News (3.3 million subscribers)
HBO News Network
https://www.youtube.com/user/vicenews

There are many more, millions in fact. See them in the link below:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sp=CANCBAgBEgA%253D&search_query=news

The point is, you don’t need hi-end production to deliver a great video news service to your audience. Just great writing and producing.  Distribution is on the Web, video sites, and social media.

 

Facebook has started internal testing of its dating app

Let the poking begin.

Brownie Bytes has some questions

Is “OldBook” trying to become relevant with younger audiences again?

Or is it just going to get a bunch of creepy divorced people hooking up – or promoting divorce among sneaky spouses?

I thought Facebook was cracking down on fake accounts? Isn’t this going to just spawn a rash of new fake profiles?

…sometimes I crack myself up.

From The Verge

According to internal Facebook posts:

“This product is for US Facebook employees who have opted-in to dogfooding Facebook’s new dating product,” a screenshot reads, using slang for employees testing out their own software. “The purpose for this dogfooding is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI. This is not meant for dating your coworkers.”

Facebook asked employees to use fake data for their dating profiles, and plans to delete all data before the public launch. “Dogfooding this product is completely voluntary and has no impact on your employment,” a screenshot reads, adding that the product is confidential. It also warns employees that its anti-harassment policies apply to the dating product.

Read More (The Verge)

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649624/facebook-dating-app-internal-testing-profiles

Google to Warn Enterprises of Potential Attacks on G Suite Accounts

Google has added an optional new feature in G Suite’s Admin Console that alerts customers of cyber-attacks on their accounts.

Administrators of Google’s G Suite collection of cloud-hosted productivity apps can now get alerts from Google of potential government-sponsored backed attempts to break into their account.

The company has added a new feature to the administration console in G Suite that will trigger an email alert to enterprise customers any time Google’s threat-detection system detects activity that might be related to a government backed cyber-attack on users’ computers or accounts.

The feature is entirely optional. Administrators can choose to disable it or they can set it to send default notifications to specified users in their organization. When the feature is first activated, the default setting is for the alerts to be sent via email to the primary administrator for G Suite, according to an August 1 announcement on the G Suite Updates blog.

Google has been warning individual Gmail users since 2012 about any malicious activity targeting their accounts that the company believes may be the work of government-backed attackers. Now this service is being integrated into the G Suite admin console.

Read More (eWeek)