Articles filed under Technology

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  • How restaurants get you to spend more money Mar 1, 2015 7:00 AM
    You may think you’re immune to transparent sales pitches like, “Do you want fries with that?” But the tactics restaurants use to nudge you into spending a little extra may be subtler than you realize. Here’s a look at a few ways companies get you to spend (and eat) more than you intended.

  • Reddit’s new privacy policy bans sharing nude images without consent Mar 1, 2015 7:00 AM
    Reddit, the site that just last fall hosted a trove of stolen nude images of celebrities in its forums, banned “involuntary pornography” from its site on Tuesday in an update to its privacy policy, which goes into effect in early March.

  • Inside Tumblr's teen suicide epidemic Mar 1, 2015 12:19 PM
    In the past two months, at least three transgender teenagers have committed or attempted suicide after scheduling suicide notes on the blog platform Tumblr. Public health experts fear that the spread of the notes -- and their attendant memes, photo collages, and highly idealized portraits -- could actually present a very warped, romanticized narrative on suicide to the exact group of kids who need to hear the opposite.

  • Life-saving train design is rarely used Feb 28, 2015 7:43 AM
    Engineers have figured how to blunt the deadly force of a train smashing into a truck on the tracks. Yet few U.S. rail systems have adopted the technology, which is believed to have played a significant role in the remarkably low number of serious injuries from Tuesday’s commuter rail crash in California.

  • Love a man in uniform? Online dating scammers hope so Feb 28, 2015 7:32 AM
    Despite being happily married for 13 years, Ray Chandler is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. Single women can find him on the dating site, where he confesses to being “Very new to this dating thing and am looking to see where this takes me.” He is on Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook. Literally hundreds of dating profiles and social media accounts are illustrated with photographs of the same handsome salt-and-pepper-haired military man.

  • Doctors say fitness trackers, health apps can boost care Feb 28, 2015 7:31 AM
    That phone app keeping track of your exercise and meals might keep you out of the hospital one day. Why give your doctors permission to incorporate data from fitness trackers and health apps into electronic patient records? Well, they might spot signs of an ailment sooner and suggest behavioral changes or medication before you land in the emergency room. They also might be able to monitor how you’re healing from surgery or whether you’re following a treatment regimen.

  • App reviews: Handle, for e-organization; Blendoku puzzle game Feb 28, 2015 7:32 AM
    Handle links three productivity apps into one -- the e-mail inbox, calendar and to-do list -- to help you get a grip on your life. Fans of simplicity should like Blendoku, a puzzle game that challenges players to set a group of colored tiles into the right sequence, according to the color wheel.

  • Tinder tested by Millennials who won’t pay for dating apps Feb 28, 2015 7:41 AM
    Paul Eggler has three free dating apps on his smartphone and hasn’t found a partner yet. Even so, the 28-year-old, who is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at Washington University in St. Louis, isn’t willing to pay for more features or a premium matchmaking service that might give him a better chance.“Why spend 20 bucks a month when the free ones are pretty good?” Eggler said.

  • Bridal web site features suburban vendors Feb 27, 2015 8:30 AM
    Kukec's eBuzz column features, which recently started to expand and offers about 80 companies and vendors in the Chicago and suburban market. The subscription site offers brides a chance to learn about vendors as they plan their weddings.

  • IBM outlines plan to revamp business for investors Feb 26, 2015 10:31 AM
    IBM’s CEO says the company’s plan to revamp its business to shift away from hardware and focus on business analytics, cloud computing, mobile services and security is on track. In a media briefing ahead of an investor conference in New York on Thursday, Virginia Rometty said the company plans that the new tech markets should make up 40 percent of IBM’s business, or $40 billion, in the next 4 years. That’s up from 13 percent five years ago and 27 percent by the end of this year. Once the dominant PC-maker known as “Big Blue,” IBM is confronting a sales slump as it struggles to adapt to big changes in the way businesses buy software and other commercial technology. It issued another disappointing earnings report in January, as both revenue and profit fell in the December quarter. But Rometty said the sales decline has been largely engineered by the company as it restructures its hardware business and sells off less profitable units. Hardware now makes up less than 10 percent of the company, she said. Looking forward, IBM plans to spend $4 billion to invest in the new areas of focus like data analytics and cloud computing, excluding acquisitions. It also plans to focus on partnering with other businesses. It pointed to its recent partnership with Apple, once its staunch rival, to develop new mobile software. And last week IBM said it would partner with Japan’s SoftBank Telecom Corp. to develop apps and services with its Watson artificial intelligence unit. But so far, analysts remain skeptical of the turnaround plan. “The falloff in the traditional businesses is dwarfing IBM’s ability to capture new revenue opportunities as the market shifts,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi Jr. wrote after the company’s earnings report in January. IBM shares rose 53 cents to $163.34 on premarket trading 30 minutes before the market opening.

  • Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells Feb 25, 2015 7:18 PM
    At 300 miles, the four-seat Mirai offers the longest range of any electric vehicle on the market. A full tank of hydrogen, Toyota adds, has enough energy to power the average American home for a week.

  • Motorola aims new phone at first-time smartphone buyers Feb 25, 2015 7:13 PM
    Motorola, which Lenovo Group bought from Google Inc. in October, has been trying to set itself apart from other phone makers by selling cheaper phones that have some features found in higher-end products. For instance, all of its phones use Corning’s Gorilla Glass for durability.

  • Comcast 4Q profit edges up, adds customers, boosts dividend Feb 24, 2015 10:29 AM
    Comcast Corp.’s fourth-quarter net income edged up less than 1 percent as the company added more customers for its cable TV, high-speed Internet and phone services. The nation’s largest cable provider also raised its dividend and said it would repurchase $10 billion in stock. Comcast is in the midst of a $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable that is undergoing a regulatory review.

  • In Apple’s latest update, emoji get diverse Feb 24, 2015 10:29 AM
    Lovers of emoji, the cute graphics that punctuate online writing and texts, will soon be able to pick from different skin tones. IPhone and iPad maker Apple Inc. has incorporated more diverse emoji into the developer version of the latest update to its mobile operating system. It has not said when the update will be available for all users.

  • Lake Barrington shop owners are local version of American Pickers Feb 23, 2015 5:00 AM
    Kukec's People features two sisters and their mother, who own Tattered Tiques in Lake Barrington. They are like the local version of American Pickers, since they go on the road around the Midwest to find unique antiques .

  • Why hands-free driving isn't risk-free Feb 24, 2015 5:58 AM
    Thanks to technology, drivers can conference call, set up a play-date, yell at underlings, order pizza AND drive with a hands-free device. Yet, safety experts warn, hands-free doesn't mean risk-free. “You need your brain to drive and you need your brain to talk,” cognitive psychologist Paul Atchley cautions. “If you try to do both at once, you increase the risk of being in a crash.”

  • YouTube at 10: How an online video site ate the pop culture machine Feb 21, 2015 7:43 AM
    The massive video-sharing site turned 10 years old Saturday, which almost passes for old age on the Internet. And yet, for much of its history, YouTube was the upstart, the disrupter, the 12-year-old kid just revving to conquer the pop culture machine.

  • Review: These smartwatches leave the phone behind Feb 21, 2015 7:32 AM
    One of my frustrations with early smartwatches has been how little they can do on their own. Sure, your phone might be with you most of the time, but sometimes you want to leave it behind. The Gear S and SmartWatch 3 still need to be close to an Android phone for a lot of things, but both do more solo than other smartwatches.

  • The technology we need drivers to buy so cycling isn’t so dangerous Feb 21, 2015 7:42 AM
    For decades, most of the safety advances in cars -- seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes -- have been designed to keep the people inside of them safer. But as vehicle fatalities have plummeted as a result over the years, we’re now focusing a lot more on what happens to the people outside of cars. Seattle last year had 15 traffic fatalities; five of them were either pedestrians or cyclists. San Francisco had 29 traffic deaths in 2014, including 17 pedestrians and three cyclists. In New York City, 248 people died on city streets last year -- 132 were pedestrians and 20 cyclists. All of these cities have now embraced campaigns to eliminate traffic deaths entirely in the coming years as part of what’s become a national “vision zero” movement. Much of the push involves adapting city infrastructure or changing local laws like speed limits to protect cyclists and pedestrians. But the history of car safety poses an intriguing question: If vehicle technology has made it safer to ride in cars, should automakers now take more responsibility for making it safer for people who don’t even use cars to travel around them? SF Weekly’s Leif Haven, writing about the latest fatality data in San Francisco, raises a provocative idea: “If California required better pedestrian-friendly design and smart anti-collision features, the auto industry would have to ante up, just like they already do” for state air-quality regulations. Leif points to a project Jaguar Land Rover unveiled at the end of January. The automaker’s Advanced Research Centre in Britain is currently researching “Bike Sense” technology to figure out what kinds of in-car cues would trigger the most instinctive reactions from drivers at the wheel when a cyclist (or pedestrian) is nearby. The company is currently looking at technology that would “tap the driver on the shoulder” when a cyclist approaches the car. The sound of a bike bell could also ring from the speaker inside the car closest to the cyclist outside of it. Jaguar is also playing with door handles that would buzz when cyclists are nearby to solve the incredibly low-tech problem of passengers and drivers opening car doors into them. Automakers who’ve solved more complicated technological problems could no doubt figure out this one too. But the policy question raised by such technology is more complex: Should we require cars to include safety features that would protect cyclists and pedestrians around them? In a literal sense, this would force car owners to pay some of the financial cost of making streets safer for people who don’t use cars. A public commitment to this kind of vehicle technology would make a philosophical point too: that cyclists and pedestrians can’t be solely responsible for their own safety on city streets. For decades we’ve addressed pedestrian injuries and fatalities by suggesting that people on foot should pay more attention, as if the onus falls on the most vulnerable. As biking has grown more popular, we now often talk about cyclists this way too. Of course, in-car technology doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that pedestrians no longer need to look both ways before crossing the street, nor that cyclists shouldn’t look out for cars constantly. But it would acknowledge that cars, with all their might and weight, carry a lot of responsibility, too. • Badger is a reporter for Wonkblog covering urban policy. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities.

  • Apple’s reportedly serious about making cars. Don’t hold your breath Feb 21, 2015 7:41 AM
    The Apple rumor of the moment is that the tech giant is stretching its wings and getting into the automotive industry. Reports from The Wall Street Journal and Reuters stoked smoldering rumors that Apple is looking for a way to break into the car industry, devoting a boatload of resources to designing what the Journal called a “minivan”-like vehicle code-named “Titan.” “Oh sure,” a seasoned Apple watcher might say. We’ll see that Apple car on the roads, just as soon as we get those Apple televisions in our living rooms.

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