News has come out the US Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of press, influencers, and bloggers to just keep track of what they report in pertaining to National Security. Leo says that this is something that we should be vigilant in watching because it could be very easy to misuse such data.
This Week in Tech News
The internet used to be filled with jokes for April Fool's, but that trend has been on the decline lately. Even Google, the company that would always do very elaborate pranks on April Fool's Day has backed off from it. Google did do at least one thing, however. Google Maps has a "Where's Waldo" game you can play. Google also announced "Google Cloud Hummus."
We now have evidence that cell phone radiation can cause cancer in male rats. It is not cause for concern yet, as we are waiting for recommendations from the FDA and others. As always with these kinds of studies, the rats were exposed to a lot of radiation over two years. The original federal studies from the US National Toxicology Program, which uses labels to suggest how strong the evidence is, labeled the evidence "equivocal." That's the second lowest on the scale that the NTP uses, meaning there wasn't enough evidence to really make a connection.
The driver of the Tesla Model X that crashed on March 23rd did have the autopilot mode engaged. This comes after Uber's deadly crash with a pedestrian, where it has been determined that the self-driving car had not been operating safely. Tesla responded that the driver should have put his hands on the wheel to intervene. Strange curves and barriers can cause problems for the autopilot mode. It's important that any safety driver stay alert when the car is in self-driving mode.
It's tax time and Leo says that this is the time of year for what's called the "IRS Tax Scam." Users may get an email or voicemail with a warning that the police are coming to arrest you unless you pay your tax bill. Don't fall for it. The IRS will not contact you via voicemail, email or text message. The IRS only uses the US Mail.
Tuesday, Apple is holding an education event in Chicago, and many believe that they will be offering a lower cost iPad for education along with the Apple Pencil. But they may also update the MacBook Air. Leo says that Apple will need to get the price down to around $250 in order to compete with Chromebooks in the education realm.
Tired of the intrusion into his privacy, Leo decided to quit Facebook last night. Leo says that when Facebook users take quizes on Facebook, the quiz maker gets access to all of your personal information, as well as the information of your friends — without their consent. Leo says Facebook refuses to do anything about it.
This week, Leo got the Samsung Galaxy S9. Not only does it have one of the best cameras ever, DxOMark says the screen is practically perfect in every way. Leo also says he's pleased that the fingerprint reader was finally put in the right place. But what's strange for him is that there's not much difference between the Galaxy S9 and the Note 8. It may have a faster processor and is slightly smaller, but they're practically the same.
Magic Leap has been a company that's been all hype and no action for years, despite all of the great demos they have on their website. Now the company says it's making a prototype that looks like welder's glasses for augmented reality. This means it would put virtual things on top of the real world, so you're not completely isolated like you would be with virtual reality. Magic Leap says it will release its system to developers sometime this year. It features glasses, a small Discman sized computer that can attach to your belt, and a controller.
With Ready Player One set to come out later this year, Leo says there are a ton of virtual reality exhibitions at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival this week in Austin. Leo also saw a mockup WestWorld outside of Austin. Tickets sold out in minutes.
Learn more at sxsw.com
Photo: 2017 SXSW Conference & Festivals | Photo by Samantha Burkardt