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Articles filed under Technology

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  • App check: Relaxation is just a few breaths away Jan 17, 2015 7:00 AM
    Breathe2Relax, an app that teaches you how to do deep breathing, comes from, of all places, the Department of Defense -- which explains the militaristic (but sometimes creepy-looking) avatar in its demonstration video.

     
  • Booking a trip to the ER on your smartphone? It’s a breeze Jan 15, 2015 9:49 AM
    No waiting weeks to see a dermatologist. No sitting for hours in the emergency room. No frantic calls to find a family doctor with openings. Online services such as ZocDoc and InQuicker are enabling patients with non-life-threatening conditions to schedule everything from doctor’s office visits to emergency room trips on their laptops and smartphones — much like OpenTable users do with restaurant reservations.

     
  • Wintrust ATMs get new software, works with your smartphone Jan 15, 2015 1:37 PM
    Rosemont-based Wintrust is adding new software to its fleet of 190 ATMs so that they can communicate with your smartphone. About 29 ATMs so far have the new software that will allow your smartphone to do the so-called cardless cash transaction.

     
  • Drones must learn to navigate populated areas Jan 11, 2015 7:41 AM
    Technology has advanced to the point where hobbyists can fly the unmanned aircraft with their iPhones. But nobody has yet developed a successful system for the devices to sense and avoid other objects like trees, streetlights, buildings and even other drones.

     
  • Drone revolution draws near, but big obstacles remain Jan 11, 2015 7:33 AM
    Except for a few locations, U.S. airspace is closed to commercial drones. Regulators say the danger is too great, and they want to go slow easing unmanned aircraft into the already crowded skies. Advocates of the young drone industry complain that the long wait is keeping them grounded. Big-money investors are generally staying away, waiting for clear government guidelines.

     
  • Fashion designers spruce up smartwatches Jan 11, 2015 7:32 AM
    martwatches don’t have to look ugly to be functional. Clothing and accessories designers are collaborating with engineers to produce computerized wristwatches that people will want to wear all day and night. With Apple Inc. preparing to release a watch line that includes an 18-karat gold edition, rivals know they need to think beyond devices that look like miniature computers.

     
  • Would you spend $40,000 on speakers? What if they are amazing? Jan 11, 2015 7:22 AM
    The Rubicon is the world’s first AD/DA preamp to house its own atomic clock. Yes, it retails for $40,0000, and no, you probably don’t need a dose of rubidium-87 for your lossless music files to sound decent. But this doesn’t sound decent, it sounds incredible.

     
  • Mobile credit card readers, and what they cost Jan 11, 2015 7:32 AM
    Need to accept credit cards for your small business? You have more reader options than ever. Online retailers Amazon and Etsy are the latest companies to offer the devices, which plug in to smartphones and tablets and let business owners accept credit cards anywhere. They join established players such as Square and Inuit GoPayment.

     
  • Google loses most search share since 2009 while Yahoo gains Jan 10, 2015 7:18 AM
    Google Inc.’s dominance of the U.S. Internet search market slipped last month in the biggest drop since 2009 while Yahoo! Inc. posted its largest share gain, as the companies grappled with the fallout of a search deal on Firefox browsers.

     
  • Facebook’s New Year Resolution: More video ads in news feed Jan 10, 2015 7:33 AM
    The amount of video on Facebook Inc.’s news feed more than tripled last year, as many users and advertisers discovered the option for the first time. How much bigger video will get on the social network depends largely on Fidji Simo.

     
  • FTC chief says gadget industry must prioritize privacy Jan 10, 2015 7:41 AM
    While gadget companies are celebrating a coming bonanza of health trackers, connected cars and “smart” home appliances, the head of the Federal Trade Commission is pressing the tech industry to protect consumer privacy. Powerful networks of data sensors and connected devices, dubbed the “Internet of Things,” will collect a vast trove of user information that represents “a deeply personal and startlingly complete picture of each of us” — including our finances, health and even religious leanings, said Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, in prepared remarks Tuesday for the big consumer electronics trade show known as International CES. Connected consumer devices represent a growing market worth billions of dollars. A host of “smart” TVs, health monitors and other gadgets are on display during the weeklong show in Las Vegas. Ramirez urged the global electronics companies, Internet giants and tech startups at CES to make data security a priority as they build new products. She also called on companies to give consumers more control over how their data is used, and to collect only the data that’s necessary for a product to perform its function. These are steps privacy advocates have urged before. While Ramirez didn’t propose specific regulations, her remarks underscore the Obama administration’s concerns over consumer privacy. The FTC has made the issue a priority, pursuing a number of investigations and enforcement actions against tech companies and data brokers that collect and sell consumer information. The boom in connected devices has the potential to spur global economic growth, improve health and provide other benefits, Ramirez said. But it also allows companies “to digitally monitor our otherwise private activities,” and the “sheer volume of granular data” will allow them to compile more detailed profiles of individuals. “Your smart TV and tablet may track whether you watch the History Channel or reality television,” she added, “but will your TV-viewing habits be shared with prospective employers or universities? And will this information be used to paint a picture of you that you won’t see but that others will — people who might make decisions about whether you are shown ads for organic food or junk food, where your call to customer service is routed, and what offers of credit and other products you receive?” Most tech companies say they take steps to protect customer information against abuse. “Data security is very much the responsibility of everyone,” said CES attendee Riaan Conradie, founder of South African startup LifeQ, which is promoting a system for analyzing data collected by health tracking devices. But Ramirez said she often hears businesses argue that too much regulation might interfere with creating new or unexpected beneficial uses for data. “I question the notion that we must put sensitive consumer data at risk on the off-chance a company might someday discover a valuable use for the information,” she said, adding that companies should collect only data needed for a specific purpose. Ramirez also warned that if the industry doesn’t respect consumer privacy, potential customers will lose trust in its products, which could harm business.

     
  • TV channels delivered by Internet, new TV sets Jan 10, 2015 7:31 AM
    One of the biggest changes in television this year will be more channels being available online with no separate cable or satellite subscription. But for would-be cord-cutters, watching sports has been the Holy Grail. Until now — Dish Network Corp. on Monday unveiled an Internet-only subscription offering that includes ESPN.

     
  • Source: GM plans 200-mile electric car in 2017 Jan 10, 2015 3:01 PM
    GM conceived the $35,000 Volt as a mass-market car that could handle most trips on electric power, but had the generator to end worries that people would run out of juice. A concept version of the first-generation Volt was unveiled eight years ago at a time when GM didn’t know for certain that the battery system would work.

     
  • Drone market resembles Silicon Valley’s early days Jan 10, 2015 2:28 PM
    Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins, says the real power of drones is the large amount of data they can collect. Even so, he hedges his enthusiasm.“I’d like to think it will be life altering,” Abbott says. “But time will tell.”

     
  • 20 ways to put drones to good use Jan 10, 2015 2:26 PM
    The first uses are likely to be in remote, sparsely populated areas. Some of the proposed commercial applications for drones include: Showing off homes and the surrounding neighborhoods for real estate agents looking to set their listings apart; Photographing weddings; Providing football teams with unique video angles of their practices to see what is and isn’t working; Mapping coastal erosion, forest land, archaeological sites or to conduct geological surveys.

     
  • Drones at International CES: Sky’s the Limit Jan 10, 2015 7:34 AM
    When you’re searching for the hottest gadgets on the floor of this year’s consumer electronics show, be sure to look up. For the first time ever, there’s an International CES section dedicated to drones. More than 20 companies are showing off dozens of different models. “People have been saying the drones are coming. But I think the fact that we have an unmanned systems area dedicated to them now means they’re not coming. They’re here,” says Andrew Amato, editor-in-chief of Dronelife.

     
  • Study: Drivers will pay up to $1,499 for tech features Jan 10, 2015 7:33 AM
    A majority of U.S. drivers are willing to pay as much as $1,499 to have high-tech entertainment and safety devices in their vehicles as consumers demand more connectivity, according to a Harris Poll.

     
  • LG unveils new curved smartphone at CES Jan 10, 2015 7:32 AM
    LG is unveiling a new curved smartphone at CES. The International CES show in Las Vegas this week isn’t typically a major forum for mobile products, as many manufacturers wait a month or two for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But it’s hard to separate mobile from other technologies these days.

     
  • Don’t sound the death knell for the PC just yet Jan 10, 2015 7:35 AM
    Sure, a smartphone is great for checking emails, snapping photos and playing games. Tablets are perfect for watching videos and shopping online. But don’t count the PC out just yet. Manufacturers are crafting high-resolution, curved screens for desktops and other new features you can’t get in a hand-held device, while trying new laptop designs that mimic the tablet’s appeal.

     
  • From quirky to revolutionary, the CES show has them all Jan 9, 2015 6:16 PM
    Of the tons of products on display, here are a few that inspired, brought a chuckle, or made you just say, hmmm, yeah, I definitely need that. (Wink.)

     
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