Archives for Notes From The Electronic Cottage

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/18/18

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

As we enter 2018, let’s take a moment to look at some recent research in Artificial Intelligence that may be becoming part of everyday life before too long: a poker bot that can win big at Texas Hold-em; another big step in making it possible for computers to read minds; and a bot that can tell if someone is lying better than humans. Tomorrow is becoming today…

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/11/18

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Best of 2017

In the spirit of the turning year, we thought we’d join in the “best of 2017” trend underway and choose the most important Electronic Cottage program from 2017. Turns out, it might wind up being the most important Electronic Cottage program of 2018 as well. The renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been pushed into 2018 and will now expire if not renewed by Congress by January 19, 2018. Here’s why what happens around that renewal will affect not only our digital lives but out lives in general.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/4/18

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Today, let’s take a look at URL shorteners and how to make sure they are safe before we click on them. Three sites that can help with that are:

Let’s also take a peek at Google Drive’s Terms of Service (TOS). If you use Google Drive, what you’ve agreed to may surprise you.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/28/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

2017 Year in Review

A lot happened in the tech world and the world that tech affects in 2017. Here’s a idiosyncratic review of some of what happened in the past year. Happy New Year to all, and hopes for a positive 2018!

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/21/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

There are lots of swell digital devices that will probably appear in people’s house this holiday season but these devices, especially toys, are very different from teddy bears or wooden horses. They require a much higher level of attention and monitoring. Here’s why, and here’s a link to the FBI’s suggestions on the subject.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/14/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Three of the five FCC commissioners are voting to do away with a constellation of rules referred to as Net Neutrality, rules that protect users of the web from all sorts of use discrimination. These commissioners, none of whom are engineers or technologists, feel this is the best thing for the Internet. The people who invented the Internet and the World Wide Web have a very different opinion: “Internet Pioneers and Leaders Tell the FCC: you Don’t Understand How the Internet Works.” The link to their letter to Congress is at: Now only Congress can protect Internet users – if their constituents tell them to.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/7/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

We’ve all been hearing a lot about the tax bill that is still wending its way through Congress but that is not the only thing going on these days. Two other events in Washington promise to have a huge impact on our digital lives, and, of course, technology has not stopped moving at a breathtaking pace, including when digital tech is used in ways that its inventors didn’t anticipate. For example, watch here as thieves steal a newer car simply by reading the signal that the fancy car’s key emits – from inside the house.
RFID repeater used to steal Mercedes with keys locked inside a house

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/30/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

This is not a happy time in Washington as Congress and federal agencies like the FCC are in a big hurry to make laws and regulations before the end of the year. That means a lot of important things that will affect our digital lives don’t make it to the front page or, often, any page. Renewal of Section 702 of the FISA is one of them. A new book, “Beyond Snowden,” offers some suggestions that Congresspeople ought to consider – it offers ways to make our out of control government surveillance of Americans both more effective and more consistent with our Bill of Rights. Here’s how.