Facebook’s Zuckerberg Lists Options for Managing Fake News

After weeks of accusation that fake news on Facebook, much of it favorable to Donald Trump, impacted the election, Facebook chairman/chief executive Mark Zuckerberg published a post describing ways the social media company might handle the issue. Among the potential steps are third-party verifications, improved automated detection tools and simpler ways for an ordinary user to flag suspicious content. Zuckerberg originally stated that the idea Facebook influenced the election was “a pretty crazy idea.” Continue reading Facebook’s Zuckerberg Lists Options for Managing Fake News

After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory operator best known for assembling Apple’s iPhones, is acquiring two-thirds of Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, which supplies phone screens to Apple. The $3.5 billion deal, which follows a slew of public negotiations, rumors and setbacks, could provide Foxconn with leverage to make it a more attractive Apple partner. However, some analysts suggest that the acquisition will hand Foxconn an ailing and costly business. Foxconn is facing rising labor costs in China and a global slowdown in smartphones, while Apple diversifies its supply chain. Continue reading After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Internet users are typically more engaged when accessing websites and social platforms that include photos and videos. Marketing firm Shift, for example, notes that readers are five times more likely to click an embedded link if a tweet includes an image. As a result, companies are now developing software solutions for sifting through the millions of online images in an effort to help brands, advertisers and e-commerce players identify what draws viewers. EyeEm Mobile and Neon Labs are among those looking to enhance the power of online visuals. Continue reading Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Amazon Unveils Data Science Used By 2012 Obama Campaign

Civis Analytics, founded by Dan Wagner, the former chief analytics officer for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, has rolled out a set of big data tools through Amazon Web Services. The year-old Chicago-based firm says it can eliminate much of the time and cost associated with marketing campaigns, in particular using cloud computing but without the need for customization. The service will start at about $5,000 a month, which Wagner claims will be “80 percent cheaper in most cases” than competing services. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Data Science Used By 2012 Obama Campaign

Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Numerous tech giants, startups and telecoms have recently introduced new smart home products, hubs, sensors and apps, yet consumer adoption has been comparatively slow, as people take their time getting comfortable with the concept. However, that did not slow manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Whirlpool from demonstrating new connected appliances at CES. And while major players including Google, Lowe’s, Apple and others continue to push various smart home solutions, progress of the digital home has so far been incremental. Continue reading Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Kits for Internet-Connected Devices to Hit RadioShack Shelves

RadioShack plans to stock DIY kits in its retail locations that provide consumers with the ability to create an array of connected devices. New York startup LittleBits has been selling sets that allow users to connect, for example, a sound detector to a LED light, for illuminating a small space every time a radio is turned on. LittleBits now offers its $99 Cloud Starter Bundle that connects gadgets to the Internet, while companies such as Bug Labs and Electric Imp are also offering ways to create connected devices. Continue reading Kits for Internet-Connected Devices to Hit RadioShack Shelves

Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

As part of its push to become the dominant OS for connected devices in and around the home, Google’s Nest Labs will purchase Dropcam for $555 million. Dropcam’s Web-connected video-monitoring service streams live to mobile apps and sends alerts based on activity in the home. Google acquired Nest, founded by Apple designers Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell, earlier this year for $3.2 billion. The acquisition of Dropcam is expected to generate privacy concerns. Continue reading Connected Home: Google’s Nest Agrees to Acquire Dropcam

Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

ETCentric member and contributor Adrian Pennington recently posted an interesting perspective on the direction of visual effects in TV production, including an interview with Adobe’s Steve Forde. “While the feature film visual effects business is in flux, the TV VFX business is thriving by delivering creativity to tight timescales on a budget,” writes Adrian. “Indeed the future of all VFX production could be modeled on the workflows built to support CGI-intensive series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Doctor Who.'” Continue reading Will the Future of Visual Effects be Modeled on TV Production?

HPA Tech Retreat Wraps With a Look at “Breaking the Model”

Disruptive content creation models and the resulting vulnerability of content assets were recurring themes at the 2014 HPA Tech Retreat last week, and the topics of discussion on the event’s last day. NSS Labs Sales Director Kari Grubin moderated a panel on “Breaking the Model” that took a look at both issues. She recounted her own “aha moment” at last year’s Tech Retreat, during an ETC panel featuring USC students talking about their media consumption patterns. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat Wraps With a Look at “Breaking the Model”

Smarthome Devices Offer Many Benefits, Raise Privacy Concerns

As was evident at CES in January, a number of smarthome products are entering the market, designed primarily for home security and automation. Most of the products include camera features and the ability to easily watch and/or record activity via apps and mobile devices. While surveillance inside the home isn’t new (think nanny cams and video security systems), the new wave of affordable devices intend to democratize and perhaps even glamorize home surveillance. For homes with multiple inhabitants, this may raise questions regarding privacy. Continue reading Smarthome Devices Offer Many Benefits, Raise Privacy Concerns

Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Foxconn executives have been in talks about robotics with former Android executive Andy Rubin, specifically to discuss new robotic technologies and speed up deployment of robots in its factories. Rubin asked Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to help integrate a tech company that’s being acquired by Google, which last year acquired eight other robotics companies. In the meeting, Gou was said to have expressed excitement over automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin. Continue reading Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Staples Connect Offers Universal Hub to Connect Your Home

It may seem an unlikely source for managing home automation or the next step forward for the Internet of Things, but Staples will launch its $100 Staples Connect hub in November. The Internet-connected hub by Linksys centralizes control of smart home appliances and other devices with the help of a single controller app. Staples hopes its approach will help curb the need for multiple proprietary apps that are common with smart home devices currently on the market. Continue reading Staples Connect Offers Universal Hub to Connect Your Home

SmartThings Launches Online Market for Internet of Things

In an effort to promote its own Internet-of-Things devices, startup SmartThings is launching an online marketplace that offers starter kits and an array of devices and solution sets that help manage the home. SmartThings first launched its products via Kickstarter in September, including a hub and variety of sensors to track movement and manage devices, providing users with home automation solutions controlled largely by smartphones. Continue reading SmartThings Launches Online Market for Internet of Things

Microsoft Releases Operating System For Home Automation

Microsoft researchers have recently released software that will make home automation easier. The company’s Lab of Things will serve as a platform for researchers and developers. Researchers will have a base to study home automation technology, and developers will have an operating system for apps that will control and monitor this technology. Some believe that the Lab of Things may be a starting project for larger and more complex buildings. Continue reading Microsoft Releases Operating System For Home Automation

AT&T Launches Digital Life Home Security and Monitoring

AT&T announced that it has launched its Digital Life home security and monitoring service in 15 U.S. cities with plans to expand to 50 locations this year. Built on the telecom’s 2010 acquisition of Xamboo, it will compete with security offerings by companies like ADT and various startups building devices for the connected home. Digital Life will provide visual access via Web-connected cameras and sensors hooked up to a broadband connection. Continue reading AT&T Launches Digital Life Home Security and Monitoring