In performing what what the FCC called illegal "sneak charges" for ring tones and other items without consent, AT&T violated FCC regulations and must now pay customers back over $88 million in charges. Leo says it amounts to about $30 per customer.
This Week in Tech News
The White House has released an augmented reality app. The app called "1600" allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Leo believes it's far more useful than virtual reality.
Microsoft is the first to leverage augmented reality with HoloLens. It's currently $3,000, but that should get cheaper soon. Leo says he wouldn't be surprised to see if plummet in price by next year.
The Microsoft Surface Studio is, believe it or not, Microsoft's first desktop computer. It's got a high resolution 27" screen and Leo simply can't stop playing with it. It's ideal for artists. It's expensive, though, at $3,000. What's disappointing is that the low end model at that price point only has 8GB of RAM, an i5 processor, and a 5400 rpm spinning hard drive. So Leo thinks it's a bit underpowered. He also says it's a great tool for those in creative endeavors.
Samsung has gotten into the high end audio world by picking up Harman, the maker of luxury and studio sound including JBL, AKG, Mark Levinson Sound, Revel Speakers, and Bowers and Wilkins.
Read more at news.samsung.com.
Leo says that Facebook is learning about how to deal with fake news, but it's by no means the only portal that has to deal with it. There are plenty of news websites that fall for it as well. But while people are caught up in fake news, they are missing real news, like Apple being able to turn over the content of your iCloud account to authorities with a simple request. But nobody reports on that.
Britain passed the "Snooper's Charter," which is being claimed the most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy. Current Prime Minister Theresa May introduced it before she was Prime Minister. She's tried two times to pass it, and after four years, it was passed on Wednesday by both houses of Parliament. The law will force internet service providers in Britain to record every internet customer's web history in real time for every place they visit. It discourages encryption. It gives law enforcement and intelligence agencies the power to hack into devices of any citizen.
The news has broke that putting to large a battery into the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 may have led to the batteries to "plate" do to the limited space and that cause it to leak lithium and catch on fire. Samsung has recalled them all and there's talk that they may replace the batteries and sell them refurbished. Good luck with that.
If you've been around computers awhile, you probably have heard the term ASCII, American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It was limited though, because it only had 256 different letters, which is fine for our alphabet and left a lot of room for accents and glyphs. But, to be practical, we needed more than 256. There are many other alphabets with non-Roman characters. So we went to Unicode, which is 16 bit instead of 8 bit, and that gives us more than 65,000 different characters.
In the aftermath of this week's election, people are blaming Facebook for not taking down fake news reports that could have impacted it. Leo says that Facebook can't vet every single post to verify if it's accurate. That's just unrealistic. And according to Facebook, the fake news posts this year was only a very tiny percentage of the posts that were put up. Leo also says that the most important thing we can teach kids today is to develop critical thinking, to verify what they read themselves and not to take things without a grain of salt.
In this election season, Leo says that touch screen voting machines are simply a bad idea. Technology can be a great thing, but not everything needs to be high tech. Voting machines need to be highly secure, must be constantly calibrated, and are ripe for hacking. Just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should, and voting machines are a great example of that. By keeping paper ballots, there's also a paper trail, so it's harder for someone to falsify them.