Rooms: Facebook Embraces Anonymity with New Chat App

Facebook’s new “Rooms” app is reminiscent of the Internet bulletin boards and chatrooms of old. The iOS mobile app allows users to create discussion boards on almost any topic and chat with people they may or may not know. Participants can use any username they want and they can change usernames in different rooms. Unlike traditional text-heavy, desktop-based chatrooms, the Rooms app is designed for users to post videos and images and have online discussions on-the-go. Continue reading Rooms: Facebook Embraces Anonymity with New Chat App

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

During Facebook’s F8 developer conference this week, an Oculus VR spokesperson said the company would likely release its Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets commercially next year. While there is no official word yet on a price tag or release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift, the headset will require an ecosystem of games and entertainment. The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 is presently on sale for $350, and is scheduled to begin shipping in July. Continue reading F8: Consumers Can Purchase Oculus Rift VR Headset in 2015

Google Glass Brings Fans on Real “Walter Mitty” Adventures

To promote the home entertainment release of Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Twentieth Century Fox has teamed up with Google Glass and YouTube personality, iJustine, for a new way to experience Mitty’s adventures. From April 8-15, iJustine is in Reykjavik, Iceland as part of a crowdsourced adventure, recording her endeavors with Google Glass, and posting them on YouTube and other social media platforms. The film comes to Blu-ray and DVD April 15. Continue reading Google Glass Brings Fans on Real “Walter Mitty” Adventures

Whisper and Secret: New Messaging Apps Offer Users Anonymity

A new trend in social apps has arrived, allowing users to post anonymously, giving them a feeling of freedom without consequences for their actions on the Web. New messaging apps Whisper and Secret, for example, offer a way to share anonymous posts about anything. Popular apps such as Snapchat, Telegram and Frankly revolve around messages that self-destruct after they are read. These anonymous approaches may pose a significant threat to other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading Whisper and Secret: New Messaging Apps Offer Users Anonymity

Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

President Barack Obama spoke about the National Security Agency last week at the Department of Justice in Washington. The President touched on allowing technology companies to disclose information to the public about the kinds of data the government requests from them. However, he did not address issues such as secret government taps on data centers located overseas and encryption standards, two issues of particular interest to technology and phone companies. Continue reading Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

Redstone Boldly Promises to Provide Gigabit Wireless Internet

Florida-based Redstone is claiming that it can deliver fast, gigabit wireless Internet access that will be cheap, fast and revolutionary. Using technology developed for the military and NASA, the company claims its single wireless switch can deliver Internet connectivity with a three-mile radius, which may soon make it possible to provide connectivity to entire cities. Some experts are doubtful, however, because the company has no public patents for any such technology. Continue reading Redstone Boldly Promises to Provide Gigabit Wireless Internet

Government Defends NSA Program that Collects Phone Data

According to a secret document obtained by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI are accessing the central servers of nine U.S. Internet companies through a program code-named PRISM. The agencies are reportedly tracking chats, images, emails, documents and connection logs that assist analysts in identifying foreign threats. The federal government defends the program, while some civil liberties proponents are skeptical. Continue reading Government Defends NSA Program that Collects Phone Data