WikiLeaks this week published a trove of documents that appears to detail how the Central Intelligence Agency successfully hacked a wide variety of tech products, including iPhones, Android devices, Wi-Fi routers and Samsung televisions.
“Everybody and their mother is out to create their own specialized voice-activated devices,” IBM fellow and CTO for its Watson project Rob High told me during an interview at MWC. IBM, of course, doesn’t offer a direct competitor to Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, but the company hopes that developers will choose Watson, in all its various guises, to power their AI apps, smart chatbots and similar services.
I recently returned from a vacation to find that Google’s algorithms had created a customized slide show of my trip. I hadn’t asked for one. But the company’s software robots apparently noticed I’d traveled somewhere and taken a flurry of photos, which likely indicated I’d been vacationing. Now, I actually enjoy some of Google’s simpler customization tools, like autocomplete. But this unbidden slide-show curation seemed too humanlike. The machine had anticipated desires I didn’t have yet. I actually yelped when I saw it.
BreezoMeter has collected pollution data and created a way to build real-time air pollution maps for big cities.
The San Francisco company is launching an interactive map of air pollution based on data from real-time traffic information and other data sources, said Ziv Lautman, cofounder and chief marketing officer of BreezoMeter. You can use it to plot the safest path to work on your daily commute.
A small startup company, Echo Labs, is working to integrate a new level of health monitoring into wearable technology.
Echo Labs provides health care organizations with analytics to allow for better care of their patients, decrease hospital admissions, and reduce spending. Its first generation wearable offers health information by creating continuous vital sign tracking.
Google says it provided tips and recommendations to over 90,000 developers on how they can fix security flaws in their applications before uploading their apps to Google Play.
Just catching up on some recent topics…
Following a Dec. 29 column on the pros and cons of toll roads, an attentive reader noted that tolls need not apply to all lanes on a stretch of freeway. In Colorado, for example, express lanes in parts of the Interstate Highway system help manage congestion and speed up travel for motorists. Drivers who choose to pay the toll can use express lanes in the Denver area that are otherwise reserved for buses and carpools.
The nation’s biggest wireless carriers are making it a bit harder to keep your grandfathered unlimited data plan.
AT&T intends to raise the price of its “legacy” plan, which it no longer sells, by $5 a month in March — bringing the total monthly price of the plan to $40. This marks the second time that AT&T has upped its rate for this group in 12 months.
There’s been a positive change in the enterprise computing business of late; more product announcements truly are focused on how technology can help a company do business.
I wish I could go back in time and figure out when the IT sector made the transition from being product driven to concept focused. I guess it’s like trying to figure out when we stopped being a kid or when we realize that we are “old”.