There are times when I feel especially proud, e.g. when technical knowledge and a healthy dose of skepticism dominate the blog comments. I'm not a fan of "I told you so", but this week was one of those moments! Amazon admitted to eavesdropping on and having staff members transcribe conversations from all over the world, through Alexa. Many of you had predicted this beforehand! Bloomberg were able to question seven Amazon employees, and what they had to report was more than interesting. Not only are vocal utterances from Alexa users computer-processed but they're also overheard by 7,000 Amazon employees.
The European parliament recently voted on a major reform of EU copyright law. Henceforth, new laws are supposed to provide better IP protection for copyright owners. Upload filters are particularly controversial, as they'll analyze, and potentially block, videos, songs and images during the upload process, if they deem them in violation of intellectual property rights. All over the world, copyright owners, like movie makers, musicians and authors, have been following the discussion and now feel their finest hour has come. But what are upload filters, how do they work - and why are they so controversial?
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a classic movie with a bunch of merry friends from all walks of life, all of them in their forties. We watched "Suspiria", an Italian horror classic from 1977. We had loads of snacks, drinks and comfy seats, so everything was set for a nice movie night. But, unbeknownst to my friends, I would also use this night to find out whether twelve people were able to focus on the screen for 90 minutes straight in the age of the internet.
Imagine your PC or laptop had a port with a myriad of connection options and lots of raw power but you didn't even know it existed! That's what many computer owners must feel like these days. Purchasing a computer usually involves a welter of technical terms that are hard to sort out. And honestly, whose interest would spike if, along with disk size, RAM, processor and graphics card, the term Thunderbolt was suddenly thrown around? What is almost considered old hat in the Apple world is still a rarity among Windows users.
There's hardly another software that is as controversial as Steam, even 15 years after its debut. Some gamers refuse to buy games that require activation through steam while others rejoice at the opportunity to manage all their software in a single place and never tire of praising the various additional features. Whichever side you're on, Valve has definitely pioneered online software distribution. But what exactly is Steam, why does it matter and what are its strengths and weaknesses?