Notes from the Electronic Cottage 2/13/20: Safer Internet Day 2020

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

In case you missed celebrating Safer Internet Day on Feb. 11, 2020, here are a few belated suggestions for making use of the Internet safer for us personally. The suggestions are “oldies,” true, but they are still “goodies.”

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 2/6/20: AI and Human Bias

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

We hear a lot about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning these days and the wondrous efficiency that they are bringing to so many tasks that once only humans could perform. But they’re also bringing biases as well because the machines were created by humans. Many people, including those in courthouses as well as in factories, imagine that machines are objective but they aren’t always. The fact that once machines begin learning on their own, even those who created them don’t know how they are doing what they are doing. That can be a big problem for folks who are trying to get a loan, buy insurance, apply for a job, or even apply for bail. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/30/20: Headlines We’ve Seen Recently, Part 2

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

We had so much fun on a recent program reading some of the headlines we come across as we gather information to share on the Electronic Cottage that we decided to do it again – for the last time, promise!

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 1/23/20: Headlines We’ve Seen Recently

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Folks sometimes ask where we get the information that we feature on the Electronic Cottage. Just for fun, here is a small example of headlines from articles we have consulted in the past 30 days. Enjoy! (if you can).

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.