Warby Parker, the company that sells eyeglasses by mail, has created an app that can check your prescription online. The app is called Prescription Check. It doesn't work for reading, progressive, or bifocal lenses — it only will test distance.
This Week in Tech News
The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.
In a strict party-line vote, the FCC voted 3-2 to kill Net Neutrality rules, in spite of overwhelming support to protect it. Leo says that while the rules were in place in 2015, we've really had it since the beginning. Leo says he believes the smaller ISPs will probably still keep the spirit of Net Neutrality, but he believes the bigger companies like Time Warner, Comcast and others will probably charge Google, Facebook, and others for access to their customers. He doesn't believe at this point that customers will see a direct impact, though.
Facebook released a study on whether or not spending time on social media is bad for us. The report comes from the director of research at Facebook, David Ginsberg, and a research scientist at Facebook, Moira Burke. It's good to ask this question, and it's surprising Facebook would even ask it — until you read their conclusions. They determined it is bad for you if you're passively consuming it. They say in the study that the people who just read Facebook would feel worse, but those who interacted with others felt better. These findings seem a little self-serving, according to Leo.
Apple has released the iMac Pro, which it announced earlier this year. This computer starts at $4,999, and it's not hard at all to configure it up to $10,000. This is for professionals who are using it for business, like 3D design, photography, and video editing. Even if you did decide to spend the money on that, it still wouldn't be the fastest computer out there. This isn't even the fastest Mac. It all depends on what you do. It's using the Intel Xeon chip, which has 8, 10, 12, and 16 cores. But, when you get these multiprocessor Xeon chips, they run at a slower clock speed per process.
Google's latest artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero, now has the ability to teach itself how to master board games after only knowing the rules, and without any human intervention. While previous AI took months to beat the world champion Go player, this latest system was able to master these games in less than a day.
With a current value of over $14,000 per, Bitcoin has skyrocketed in value in the last month, but has also dropped dramatically in the last few days. Leo says the Bitcoin craze reminds him of the Holland Tulip Craze of the 1600s, where tulips became all the rage, prompting people to even offer land for a single tulip bulb. Bitcoin is just like that.
The holidays are a time where product releases and tech news slow down. This gives technology reporters a chance to look back over the year and come up with winners and losers. This is also when reviews really get into the nitty-gritty of what works and what doesn't. Looking at candidates for Phone of the Year, Leo says that there's plenty of contenders.
Though Monday is known as "Cyber Monday," the day people take to the internet to find great online deals for Christmas, Black Friday sales figures show a rise in online shopping, including a double-digit increase in using mobile devices to buy goods. The average order was $135, up from last year.
Phone sales were also big this year, with deals on the iPhone X that offered gift cards if you bought one. Walmart gave a $300 gift card.
Cyber Monday is expected to be even bigger, by 10-20%.
According to a recent study funded by Google, 15% of users have reported that their email or social media account was taken over due to phishing scams. Leo says that over 25 million users were bit by an email phishing scam, while about 35,000 were victim to keystroke loggers. Leo says that this is the season for scams and that users may get emails from the "IRS" or even phone calls demanding personal information. It's always a scam and users shouldn't fall for it.