Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/16/20: Ring Doorbells & Police

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Thinking of getting one of those spiffy new Ring doorbells with a camera on it that let’s you see who is at your door? If so, police departments across the country are applauding your purchase. Depending on where you live, the town might even help you pay for the Ring doorbell. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/9/20: DNA Today

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Oddly enough, the day after a recent Electronic Cottage broadcast looking at commercial DNA scanning providers, the Department of Defense sent out a Memorandum advising military personnel not to purchase or use these direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits. Undoubtedly a coincidence, but the concerns about the implications of how such genomic information can be used are definitely shared. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/2/20: Holiday Digital Device Check

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

As the holidays wane, and folks begin to try out those swell new digital devices they found under in their presents pile, it’s a good time to recall that default device settings are designed for the manufacturer’s purposes, not the user’s. This would be a good time to adjust those settings so that they make the device work the way you want it to.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/26/19: DNA Uses 1

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

DNA is the most personal of personal information. Among other things, commercial scanning serves claim that a sample of one¹s DNA can provide information about where our ancestors came from. This has motivated many people to spit into a tube or swab the inside of their cheeks and send off a sample to Ancestry or 23andMe or other commercial companies. But the implications of sharing one¹s DNA go far beyond the individual. Within a short time, the samples submitted buy just two million people could enable the identification of 95% of people n the US of European descent even if they never chose to submit a sample of their own DNA. Here¹s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/19/19: Holiday Idea – Read Licenses

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

First off, Happy Holidays, whichever ones you celebrate. As part of the holidays, over the next week or so, lots of new digital gizmos will be opened in houses across the land. To use most of them, the new user will have to click to agree to a license before the device can be used. Ever read one of those licenses from top to bottom? Might be – no, absolutely would be – a very good idea. But in case you don’t choose to, cartoonist Stephen Pastis depicted one in cartoon form that isn’t too far from the truth. Enjoy (well…).

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/12/19: Smart Gadgets & Facial Recognition

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

A lot of new “smart” electronic gadgets will be entering our homes this holiday season, including smart TVs. The FBI has offered a set of suggestions about how to secure those new smart TVs – great ideas from a federal agency. A not so great idea from a different federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security, is to once again require Americans who want to fly abroad to submit to facial recognition scanning despite a previous DHS promise that Americans would not be included in the Biometric Exit program. Here’s an update on both topics.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/5/19: AI Thoughts We Aren’t Hearing

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Criticism of the effects of big digital technology outfits in our everyday lives is not new. What is new is criticism coming from people who have helped to create those tech giants and the technology that is, and will continue to, change our everyday world in ways that will significantly disrupt the way we make our livings and interact with one another. Two tech insiders, both venture capitalists, have recently raised their voices to say they are really worried about what they have helped to create. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/28/19: Google and Facebook Alternatives

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

The online holiday shopping season is upon us once again, and that means being a little extra careful in what we do online to avoid the very unpleasant consequences of identity theft and, maybe, to even think about using some alternatives to big online services like Google or Facebook. For a couple of alternative possibilities to maybe explore, take a look at:

WT.Social
Restore Privacy – Google Alternatives
No More Google