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

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/21/19: Under a Watchful Eye

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Drones and Satellites have the ability to watch us from above, no matter how high a fence we may try to put around our property. What can, or can’t we do about them? It’s not at all clear, another case of the development of technology outpacing the development of law. The only relevant case law that says how much airspace we own above our property is from 1946. Here’s a link to that case Give a listen for a start to pondering some of the questions that arise when we are all “Under a Watchful Eye.”

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/14/19: Technology Has No Hippocratic Oath

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

The USA Freedom Act is up for renewal. The NSA wants it renewed forever but won’t supply any information about whether it has had any effect or why it is needed. For a useful overview of the situation, go to www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/06/nsa_spy_programs/

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/7/19: Bits & Bytes

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Still in our back to basics frame, here’s way back to basics – bits and bytes. No matter how fancy a computer or smart phone or anything else electronic, at bottom it’s all bits and bytes.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 10/31/19: URL Shorteners & Terms of Service

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

There are some pretty convenient services available on the web, URL shorteners for example, or Google Drive. They are wonderful helps for certain purposes but, as with anything on the web, it’s a good idea to be familiar with how they work and how to make them work better for you. Here are some thoughts about both of those services.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 10/24/19: Compressed Sound Revisited

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Ever wonder how the audio files on your smart phone or mp3 player or computer get to be mp3 format files, which are less than 10% as large as the original music or voice files when they were recorded? If you have, here’s the answer. Listen up.