Apple’s new ‘Sesame Street’-themed TV show will teach kids coding basics

I just can’t get the idea of Ernie and Bert teaching me how to program out of my head.

Source: Apple’s new ‘Sesame Street’-themed TV show will teach kids coding basics | TechCrunch

Good news for Roku owners: Apple’s revamped TV app is coming

I’m a big fan of the Roku box if only because the apps you know and love work really well on it (e.g. YouTube, Amazon Prime video, Pandora, Netflix) and now with Apple making a smart move it will be even better.

I suppose this pretty much spells the end of the Apple TV “puck” hardware in favor of opening up the platform.

Source: Apple’s revamped TV app is coming to Roku and Fire TV, plus Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony TVs – The Verge

When you create a platform designed to spread viral videos, don’t be shocked when violent viral videos go viral

What immediately comes to mind is Darth Vader’s famous quote: “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed”.

The absolutely horrific mass shootings in New Zealand are a first in this new media: horrific events designed from the ground up to go viral.  And the platform delivered.

The perpetrators reportedly used Facebook Live – a streaming platform that’s apparently nearly impossible to stop – and Live-Streamed their indescribably evil act. Then others immediately downloaded the video and republished it.

As of now, of course, the video has been copied and recopied effectively an infinite amount of times.  It will never be stopped. It will go on for an eternity.   There is an army of evil-doers that will work non-stop to keep this video going viral for the foreseeable future.

Artificial intelligence, indeed.  Rather completely artificial, I’d say.

Social Media’s technological terror kicked in all its algorithms and as you read this is doing its best to distribute this video as fast as possible.

No one should be surprised. You may be shocked, dismayed, appalled, but you should not be surprised.


Source: New Zealand mass shooting shows tech companies can’t control viral tragedies – CNET

Google Docs are the new teen chat app

Another great example of how you can’t stop people from doing what they want and in this case it’s chatting.

In this latest twist, kids are using Google docs (which is a commonly used school application for legitimate purposes) as the basis for chatting. There are some hilarious examples, such as copying a teacher’s document and then opening chat windows on it so that if a teacher looks at their screen, they will see what looks like their document and not suspect that it’s really a cover for God-only-knows chat conversations.

This article also highlights what happens when a younger generation is given tools that are utterly foreign to the older generation.  In many cases teachers think that kids are busy doing schoolwork when it’s anything but that.

It’s a good insight on what’s going on with today’s teens.

Source: The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is Google Docs – The Atlantic

Check your Chrome browser for an update and do it right this minute

When Justin Schuh, the “Leading @googlechrome Security and Desktop eng.” says:

Also, seriously, update your Chrome installs… like right this minute. #PSA

You do it.    Easy way: Click on this link which will take you to your Chrome Settings/Help page ( chrome://settings/help ) and commence checking /installing your update.

Follow Justin’s advice. And mine. Do the Chrome Update, now.

Source: Chrome Releases: Stable Channel Update for Desktop

Give us your mobile# for security and then we’ll let others violate your privacy. 

This is pretty damning: FB wants us to submit our mobile ph# for security purposes; you know, the one where you log in and then they text you another code you have to enter – AKA “2 factor authentication”).

The problem is that once you give your ph#, people can then look you up on Facebook if they know your phone number. And you can’t turn off this “feature”.

You might think this is not big deal, but if you think about all the databases where your phone number may exist, you can imagine all kinds of strangers now able to look you up on Facebook.

Nothing wrong with having a feature to enter your ph# if you specifically want people to be able to look you up, but to make a “security” case to get you to give your ph# and then turn around and use it for lookup purposes it pretty bad, in my opinion.

Users are complaining that the phone number Facebook hassled them to use to secure their account with two-factor authentication has also been associated with their user profile — which anyone can use to “look up” their profile. Worse, Facebook doesn’t give you an option to opt-out. Last year, Facebook was forced to admit that after […]

Source: Facebook won’t let you opt out of its phone number ‘look up’ setting | TechCrunch

‘Soft’ robotic hand runs on air pressure and AI

The first time I saw the picture of this hand I immediately thought of the movie I, robot.

From the article…

We’ve seen examples of robots mimicking humans, but now we’re seeing robots that can autonomously teach themselves how to handle objects. Festo has developed a…
— Read on

Share those friends and family party photos!

Share those friends and family photos!

You know the deal: everyone shows up at a priceless family party and takes tons of photos, each on their own phone (or worse, for each group shot, 10 different phones take turns at shooting the picture).  Unfortunately, when the party is over, all you end up with are your own photos.

Google is attempting to solve this problem by allowing you to create “shared albums”.  Send your friends a link via email or text and they can easily all add their photos to one place.  Let’s hope this works!


Sharing photos and videos between friends and family after your birthday bash or holiday gathering shouldn’t be difficult. But between the great shots your brother has buried on his iPhone and that friend who keeps forgetting to email you her pics, you’re often left reliving the event through just the photos and videos you took yourself.

Source: Official Google Blog: Shared memories made easy with Google Photos

Improved Google Drive Search is here

Google Drive/Apps users rejoice!  Search is improved. Just click on the dropdown in the Search box and you’ll see lots of new options, including the ability to separate searching of the file name vs. content in the file.

I still wish I could search within a folder only (for those of us still stuck in folder paradigms) but this is a marked improvement. Check it out.


Source: Google Drive Blog: Because it’s gotta be super easy to find your files

Chrome Browser on Android reduced mobile data usage up to 70%

Back in the good ‘ol Internet days of dial-up, a common trick was to turn off graphics in the browser by default and only once you arrived at the desired page would you manually press a button and show all the graphics. (Anyone remember Netscape?)

Well, what was new in the ’90s is once again new in the ’10s.  The latest Chrome browser on Android essentially lets you do the same thing. You’ll not only save on your data plan by not downloading images you don’t really care to see anyway, but in addition you’ll get lightning fast downloads of websites since you’re only pulling down the text.

All we need now is the Macarena playing in the background to give us that complete 90s experience.


Straight from Google’s blog:

Now, we’re updating this mode to save even more data – up to 70 percent! – by removing most images when loading a page on a slow connection. After the page has loaded, you can tap to show all images or just the individual ones you want, making the web faster and cheaper to access on slow connections.

Source: Google Chrome Blog: A new way to save data with Chrome on Android