May 2017 News Briefs

(Synopses of articles from publications to keep you updated on technology.)

The Cloudflare Screw-up: Have your passwords been compromised? Little bugs can cause huge problems. Like when web performance and security company Cloudflare’s code upgrade leaked sensitive data to 3,438 unique domains this past February. Everything from API keys to personal data was exposed. And scariest of all is that any bot could have accessed every bit of it. The good news is that Cloudflare was alerted to the tiny leak before hackers discovered it. The bad news is, a more moderate-sized leak could bring down the web. It just brings home the point that you need to be more vigilant than ever. Change passwords routinely. Use strong passwords that hackers can’t easily break. Upgrade to two-factor authentication. Gizmodo, 02.17.17

Big Red is still the big dog…but T-Mobile is nipping at its heels. In the battle to claim best mobile network, the winner is arguable. RootMetrics says it’s Verizon. OpenSignal says T-Mobile. Digging into their reports, you’ll find that geographical factors determine the winner. OpenSignal’s crowdsourced data comes mostly from city dwellers. So their finding that T-Mobile wins most likely applies to urban areas. But that data doesn’t apply if you’re out in the sticks. RootMetrics reports more on overall coverage, and they find Verizon at the top. So who’s got the best network for you? At this point, it boils down to where you live and work. But stay tuned…this race is getting close. AndroidCentral, 02.24.17

Is your in-car GPS necessary anymore? Smartphones offer turn-by-turn navigation, satellite-tracked speed readings, voice guidance and real-time, crowdsourced traffic alerts. So why dish out another 300 bucks for your own on-dash, in-car system? Well, those in-car systems have come a long way too… Having voice-command capability, Bluetooth connectivity, geo-based recommendations and a large fixed screen might be reason enough. But if your phone’s monthly data allotment and battery life concern you at all, that in-car GPS, with its own data and power sources, starts looking pretty good. And with features like a streaming dash cam and sensor that warns you if you’re following a car too closely, in-car GPS is definitely worth a second look. DigitalTrends, 02.24.17

Get totally weird with new Virtual Reality (VR) tools. You may not have a clue about how to draw at all, much less in 3-D. Doesn’t matter… Whereas VR used to be a tool for techies, now amateurs can get in on the act. A-Frame by Mozilla, for instance, lets you easily type in commands that place 3-D objects like blocks, balls and more into a VR scene you create. Tilt Brush lets you paint in the air wearing a Google Vive headset. And Second Life inventor Philip Rosedale is building software that lets you invite friends into a VR world you design. Most of what any amateur creates will likely be grotesque, ugly or flat-out lame, but somewhere in all that mess, amazing new products will be born. Wired, 02.24.17

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