Tag: tech news

Why 5G Mobile Requires A New Handset And Why It’s Not Worth Upgrading Yet

5G, which stands for fifth-generation mobile technology, is the talk of most towns in the developed world right now.  There is no doubt that when it finally launches to the global mass market it will transform the technological landscape. That bit is easy to comprehend. What is perhaps harder to understand, is that it really isn’t worth upgrading your cellphone to a 5G device any time soon.

Existing handsets cannot be upgraded to 5G with a simple software download, the hardware required for a 5G phone is different from that used by current 4G phones. Users will be required to purchase a new 5G-enabled device outright or to take out a new contract that includes a 5G cellphone handset.

Is It Worth Upgrading To A 5G Cellphone?

5G phones should have a longer battery life than current handsets and offer faster data speeds, but in the short term, unless the user is based in one of the few 5G testbeds that are running worldwide and their network supports it, the cellphone user will not be able to harness the benefits of 5G.

Despite all the hype surrounding 5G, it is only available in small pockets of cities where it is being tested around the world. The technology is most efficient in built-up areas, it may never reach rural areas of the globe at all because it just doesn’t make economic sense to deliver it there.

Plus, the current 4G phones are pretty speedy, so the higher speeds associated with 5G are unlikely to be noticeable when using existing streaming services.

5G technology is currently focused on improving business and manufacturing services and the devices associated with the Internet of Things, such as automated vehicles. Cellphones will eventually benefit from this enhanced technology, but only when it has spread its tentacles over the bulk of most of the countries that it is being introduced in and when 5G specific cellphone services, such as enhanced gaming, come to market. Stick with 4G until that time comes.

Facebook Won’t Let Employers, Landlords or Lenders Discriminate in Ads Anymore

The sweeping changes come two years after ProPublica’s reporting, which sparked lawsuits and widespread outrage.

Facebook advertisers can no longer target users by age, gender and ZIP code for housing, employment and credit offers, the company announced Tuesday as part of a major settlement with civil rights organizations.

The wide-ranging agreement follows reporting by ProPublica since 2016 that found Facebook let advertisers exclude users by race and other categories that are protected by federal law. It is illegal for housing, job and credit advertisers to discriminate against protected groups.

ProPublica had been able to buy housing-related ads on Facebook that excluded groups such as African Americansand Jews, and it previously found job ads excluding users by age and gender placed by companies that are household names, like Uber and Verizon Wireless.

“This settlement is a shot across the bow to all tech companies and platforms,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer with Outten & Golden in Washington who represented the plaintiffs along with the ACLU. “They need to understand that civil rights apply to the internet, and it’s not a civil rights-free zone.”

The changes apply to advertisers who offer housing, employment and credit offers to U.S.-based users of Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Facebook said it hopes to implement the requirements by the end of the year.

The agreement also will create a separate online portal for housing, credit and employment offers. Those advertisers will not be able to target users in a geographic area smaller than a 15-mile radius, which advocates say tamps down on “digital” neighborhood redlining.

Housing, job and credit advertisers will also now only be able to choose from a few hundred interest categories to target consumers, down from several thousand. Critics have said such a swath of finely tuned categories, like people interested in wheelchair ramps, are essentially proxies to find and exclude certain groups. Facebook said it will keep more generic interests like “real estate,” “apartment” and “job interview.”

Facebook also said it will create a page where users can see all current housing ads whether or not the users were among those targeted. The agreement says Facebook will also study how algorithms can be biased.

“There is a long history of discrimination in the areas of housing, employment and credit, and this harmful behavior should not happen through Facebook ads,” Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a statement Tuesday.

The changes are part of Facebook’s settlement in five discrimination lawsuits. Plaintiffs included the Communications Workers of America and several fair-housing organizations, as well as individual consumers and job seekers. The settlement includes a payout of about $5 million to plaintiffs, mostly to defray legal costs.

The company agreed last year to limit advertisers’ ability to target by some demographic categories, following a complaint by Washington state.

Facebook has previously said that it was being held to an unreasonably high standard, and that ads excluding users by age and gender were not discriminatory. “We completely reject the allegation that these advertisements are discriminatory,” Vice President of Ads Rob Goldman wrote in a December 2017 post. “Used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work.” The post was titled: “This Time, ProPublica, We Disagree.”

Facebook said Tuesday it had “not seen the kind of explicit discriminatory behavior that civil rights groups are concerned about.” But ProPublica used a crowdsourcing project to find dozens examples of job ads that excluded workers over 40women and other protected groups.

Facebook has made another move recently that resulted in less transparency around ads. This year, it moved to block a ProPublica project that allowed the public to see how political ads are being targeted on Facebook.

The company said it was simply enforcing its terms of service.

5G Is Coming This Year. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, will affect how you use smartphones and many other devices. Let’s talk about the essentials.

In 2019, a big technology shift will finally begin. It’s a once-in-a-decade upgrade to our wireless systems that will start reaching mobile phone users in a matter of months. 

But this is not just about faster smartphones. The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks — known as 5G for short — will also affect many other kinds of devices, including industrial robots, security cameras, drones and cars that send traffic data to one another. This new era will leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds and most likely bring big changes to video games, sports and shopping.

Officials in the United States and China see 5G networks as a competitive edge. The faster networks could help spread the use of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.

Expect to hear more about 5G soon at events like the big consumer electronics trade show CES in January in Las Vegas and MWC Barcelona (formerly the Mobile World Congress) in February in Spain. Wireless service providers including AT&T and Verizon are already talking up 5G. And device makers are previewing gadgets that will work with the technology.

Samsung recently demonstrated prototypes of 5G smartphones that are expected to operate on both Verizon and AT&T networks. Many other manufacturers are racing to follow suit, though Apple is not expected in the initial 5G wave. Analysts predict that iPhones with the new technology won’t arrive until 2020. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Here’s what you need to know.

Strictly speaking, 5G is a set of technical ground rules that define the workings of a cellular network, including the radio frequencies used and how various components like computer chips and antennas handle radio signals and exchange data.

Since the first cellphones were demonstrated in the 1970s, engineers from multiple companies have convened to agree on new sets of specifications for cellular networks, which are designated a new technology generation every decade or so. To get the benefits of 5G, users will have to buy new phones, while carriers will need to install new transmission equipment to offer the faster service. 

The answer depends on where you live, which wireless services you use and when you decide to take the 5G plunge.

Qualcomm, the wireless chip maker, said it had demonstrated peak 5G download speeds of 4.5 gigabits a second, but predicts initial median speeds of about 1.4 gigabits. That translates to roughly 20 times faster than the current 4G experience.

The 5G speeds will be particularly noticeable in higher-quality streaming video. And downloading a typical movie at the median speeds cited by Qualcomm would take 17 seconds with 5G, compared with six minutes for 4G.

Rather than remembering to download a season of a favorite TV show before heading to the airport, for example, you could do it while in line to board a plane, said Justin Denison, a Samsung senior vice president.

No. There’s another kind of speed, a lag known as latency, that may become even more important with 5G.

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/technology/personaltech/5g-what-you-need-to-know.html

New iPad Pro: 5 reasons not to upgrade

Commentary: Put away your credit card and step away from the Apple Pay.

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Any time a new gadget comes out like the new iPad Pro, it’s exciting. But let’s take a step back and analyze what we saw beyond the slick hardware and snazzy demos. Here’s why you should maybe hold off on getting the new iPad Pro.

(There are plenty of reasons to upgrade, of course, but we’ll double back here and revisit those once we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with the device. It hits stores Nov. 7.)

Price creep

The iPad Pro starts at $799 (£769, AU$1,229) for the base configuration. If you want to use an iPad Pro more like a traditional laptop, enjoy shelling out up to $199 for the new Smart Keyboard Folio. (There’s a smaller, $179 model of the keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro.) If you want more storage than the base 64GB, you’ll pay.

If you max out all the specs on the iPad Pro, you’re looking at a price tag of $1,899 (£1,869, AU$2,869). With that kind of cash, you could pick up a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

The accessories divide

Did you buy into the dream of a pro-level iPad in the past and get a keyboard and Pencil? I’ve got bad news. The Smart Connector placement has changed, meaning you’ll need replace your old Smart Connector-compatible keyboard for the latest Smart Folio Keyboard if you want to touch type on your new iPad Pro.

The older Pencil accessory is also not compatible with the new iPad Pro. According to Apple, the original Pencil works only with the older Apple iPad Pro models. What’s more is the new, magnetic Apple Pencil is compatible only with the redesigned iPad Pros. (Here’s our FAQ on the Apple Pencil 2.)

Photoshop not coming till 2019

Apple had Adobe come on stage and show off what the software maker called “real Photoshop” on an iPad Pro. (In fact, Adobe had already revealed Photoshop for iPad earlier this month, at its own event.) That means lots of control, layers and Adobe’s wealth of tools. That could be really great. However, if you pick up an iPad Pro right now, you’re not going to get real Photoshop until next year. When next year? That is unclear. Meanwhile, real Photoshop is available for Macs and PCs right now.

What is USB-C for?

Apple made the move to USB-C with the new iPad Pros. This could conjure up dreams of using the port like you would on a computer or an Android phone.

But don’t get too excited. Apple did show the ability to charge other devices using the iPad Pro with its USB-C port and connecting to a camera. However, adding external storage may not be as simple as connecting a hard drive. If a developer chooses, it could build an app that could access external storage, like SanDisk did for its iXpand drives. When the iPad Pro launches, though, iOS will not be able to directly access external storage using the USB-C port like a regular computer would.

Courageous omissions: No headphone jack, no Lightning port, no OIS

For whatever reason, Apple ditched its proprietary Lightning port from the new, more powerful iPad Pros. If you’ve invested in Lightning adapters or Lightning cables to charge your previous iPad, neither are directly usable. USB-C is now the, er, apple of Apple’s eye. In the future, USB-C will be all that is left, but it’s still the present.

What about the headphone jack? Apple spent a great deal of time at the new iPad Pro’s introduction trying to blur the line between its tablet and more traditional PCs. That seems to be an odd choice seeing as how Apple has kept the headphone jack on its Mac line of laptops. If you want to quietly edit your creative masterpieces on the new iPad Pro, enjoy getting a dongle (you’ll need the new USB-C to 3.5mm one, since your iPhone’s Lightning to 3.5mm won’t work here). Or use a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones — Apple will gladly sell your a pair starting at $120.

Oh, one more thing. The newest iPad Pros no longer feature optical image stabilization (OIS) on the rear camera, according to Apple’s spec page. The 10.5-inch version does have OIS. I don’t know who’s using their tablet as a camera, but stabilization is always welcome.

READ MORE: https://www.cnet.com/news/new-ipad-pro-5-reasons-not-to-upgrade/#ftag=CAD-09-10aai5b

The beginner’s guide to technology in 2018: All of the essential gadgets and services actually worth your money

It’s 2018, and you’re not very familiar with technology. Where do you start?

While there are tons of gadgets and services out there vying for your attention and your dollars, there are a handful of “essential” technologies that are absolutely worth investing in, as they make your life easier in significant ways.

Here’s your guide to all the essential technologies worth your money in 2018.

A quality smartphone

phone

A quality smartphone is one of the best investments you can make. Smartphones are the most personal computing devices we own. You can use them for just about everything: They’re phones, obviously, but they’re also cameras, calculators, and full-blown computers that can fit in your pocket or bag. They’re the Swiss Army knives of the future.

The biggest choice you’ll make is actually pretty simple: Which operating system do you prefer? Most smartphones either run iOS — which is operated by Apple — or Android, which is designed by Google and tweaked (slightly or a lot) depending on the phone you buy.

If you like iOS, that means you’re getting an iPhone. You can’t go wrong with any of the new iPhones, including the $750 iPhone XR coming this month or $1,000 iPhone XS, but the older models like the iPhone 7, which starts at $450, are still an incredible deal.

If you like Android, you have a ton of options, but popular picks are the affordable OnePlus 6, which starts at $530, and the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones from Samsung, which start at $720 and $1,000, respectively. We’re also expecting new Pixel 3 phones from Google this month.

Streaming devices are a worthy investment for any TV owner in 2018. Streaming devices, in short, open up the possibilities for your TV. Most streaming devices support popular streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but depending on the company that makes your device, you’ll also typically have access to an online store, like Apple’s iTunes Store or Google’s Play Store. So, if you purchased movies, TV shows, or games through any of those stores, you’ll be able to access them on your TV.

READ MORE: https://www.businessinsider.com/technology-beginners-guide-essential-gadgets-services-2018-10#a-streaming-device-for-your-tv-2

Facebook Data Breach — What To Do Next

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Yesterday, Facebook notified users of a massive data breach affecting over 50 million people. The breach had taken place three days earlier, on the afternoon of 25 September.

The social media giant says it doesn’t know exactly what kind of information has been compromised. However, in an updated statement yesterday, it did admit the hack affected those who use Facebook to log into other accounts.

How do you know if you’ve been impacted?

If you’ve been affected by the breach, Facebook logged you out of your account yesterday. The social network said it would also notify these people in a message on top of their News Feed about what happened.

However, an important thing to note: If you were logged out, you weren’t necessarily breached. Facebook has also logged out everyone who used the ‘View As’ feature since the vulnerability was introduced as a “precautionary measure”. The social network says this will require another 40 million people or more to log back into their accounts, adding: “We do not currently have any evidence that suggests these accounts have been compromised.”

Has the issue been fixed?

According to Facebook, yes. It believes it has fixed the security vulnerability, which enabled hackers to exploit a weakness in Facebook’s code to access the ‘View As’ privacy tool that allows users to see how their profile looks to other people.

Attackers would then be able to steal the access tokens that allow people to stay logged into their accounts. Then, Facebook admits, they could use these to take over people’s profiles.

Facebook is also temporarily turning off the ‘View As’ feature while it conducts a “thorough security review”.

What should you do if you’ve used Facebook to log in to other accounts/apps?

Facebook has admitted this could be an issue, but it can be hard to know what you’ve logged into using your account. This information can be found in your settings. First, go to ‘apps and websites’, then ‘logged in using Facebook’.

There you will be able to find all the apps you have used Facebook to log in to. It’s a good idea to remove these, even if you think you haven’t been impacted by the breach. If you have been affected, you’ll also need to change the passwords for those accounts, to be safe.

What can you do to secure your Facebook account?

Facebook says there’s no need for people to change their passwords. However, there is no harm in doing so – ensuring that your new password is secure and that you do not use it to log into other accounts. You could also log yourself out of Facebook, even if you don’t think you’ve been impacted, using the ‘security and login’ section in ‘settings’. This lists the places people are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of all of them. People who’ve forgotten their passwords can access Facebook’s Help Center.

If you haven’t already, you should also enable two-factor authentication, which again can be found in Facebook settings.

Of course, you could also delete your Facebook account altogether.

Does this breach come under GDPR?

Many of the 50 million customers breached will reside in Europe, so their data does fall under the EU general update to data protection regulation (GDPR). We don’t know exactly what information has been impacted – fines are applicable for sensitive and personal data such as credit card details, which Facebook initially said has not been affected. However, if attackers have accessed personal messages, all kinds of sensitive information could have been breached.

As Facebook investigates the breach, it will be interesting to see the regulatory impact. The number of accounts impacted dwarfs that of British Airways at 50 million versus 380,000 but the nature of the information accessed is important.

For now, users need to ensure their own security is tight. Breaches are happening every day and it’s important to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication at a bare minimum.

Your Smartphone Will Replace Your Car Keys by 2015

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Your smartphone has the potential to replace nearly everything else in your pockets, so why not your car keys? Hyundai is working to do just that, with an embedded NFC tag that allows you to open your car, start the engine and link up to the touchscreen with a simple swipe. Hyundai outfitted its i30 compact hatch (aka the Elantra in the States) with NFC technology in its “Connectivity Concept” recently shown at its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The idea is simple: Nix the key fob and let your smartphone handle it all. According to the Korean automaker, the driver can swipe their phone across an embedded NFC chip to unlock the car, and once inside, the place the phone in the center console, allowing the car to start, while an inductive charging plate keeps the juice flowing without needing to plug in. “With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrate it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion,” says Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe. But unlocking and starting the car is only part of a wider connectivity solution for Hyundai. Because the system can recognize different smartphones, it can customize the in-car experience to suit each driver’s seat, mirror and infotainment settings. Once the phone is in the console, it links up with the 7-inch touchscreen mounted in the dash, and Hyundai is employing the Car Connectivity Consortium’s MirrorLink standard to automatically import contacts, navigation destinations, streaming audio and apps. Despite forging dozens of automaker partnerships, MirrorLink hasn’t caught on with many manufacturers yet. That’s mainly due to concerns about driver distraction and how certain apps would be ported to the integrated screen, modifying the user interface to suit a more driver-focused experience. But that’s about to change as MirrorLink begins gaining momentum. Hyundai and its connectivity partners at Broadcom are working to get this NFC- and MirrorLink-driven technology to market in its next generation of products, with the automaker claiming to have many of these systems in place by 2015.