This Week in Tech News

YouTube Is Under Federal Investigation for Violation of Child Privacy Act

YouTube

Episode 1603

The latest news about YouTube is that the federal government is investigating the streaming video portal for violation of provisions of the Child Online Privacy Act. The problems are in the recommendation engine, which veers to strange videos, even in the YouTube Kids channel. Numerous complaints to the Federal Trade Commission questions if YouTube is collecting data on kids under 13. 

Harry Potter Finally Launches from Niantic

Potter

Episode 1602

Niantic, the creators of the successful mobile game Pokemon Go, has finally put out a game based in the universe of Harry Potter, called Wizards Unite. You play a wizard, using your wand to battle other wizards and catch fantastic beasts. All in Augmented Reality. Leo says that it was originally launched in Australia, and people went wild about it. Now it's been launched in the US and around the world, so MORE people are going wild. 

Facebook launches Libra Coin Crypto Currency and Everyone hates it

Libra 

Episode 1602

Facebook has launched Libra Coin, and already many countries have banned its use. The US will investigate Facebook over it, and banks will refuse to accept it. But companies like MasterCard, Paypal (of course) and others will be accepting it. Leo says that if governments hate it, it's a maybe a good thing. But only time will tell. The real problem is, Facebook wants to tie your account to your banking information, and even though Facebook says all transactions will be private, with Facebook's fantastic record of security and privacy, what could possibly go wrong?

Target Cash Registers Goes Down, Abandoning Customers

Target

Episode 1601

Target's computerized cash registers went down yesterday, leaving customers left holding the literal bag with no real way to pay for them. Some employees got around the problem by using their personal phones to check out using the online interface. Target assures it wasn't a data breach, but Leo isn't so sure about that. It has happened before.

Facebook to Announce Its Own Crypto Currency

Facebook

Episode 1601

Based on deals with Mastercard, Visa, Uber and others, Facebook is poised to launch their own cryptocurrency. But the Global Coin Consortium has bowed out. Leo says it should be nicknamed "Zuck Bucks," and the major problem is, that Facebook users will have to tie their bank accounts and other financial information to their Facebook account, and considering their security challenges, that's not going to end well.

Facebook Launches New Cryptocurrency

Facebook

Episode 1600

Known as Project Libra, Facebook will launch its own cryptocurrency through partnerships with Visa and other companies. Leo says that while interesting, the problem is it requires users to connect all their financial information with their Facebook profile. Hmmmm. That's not going to fly 

Google Releases Details of Stadia Streaming Game Service

Stadia

Episode 1600

Google has released details for their Stadia Streaming gaming service, and Leo says it's like renting a game console in the cloud for $10 a month. That's only the service though, as you still need to pay for each game separately. But it also provides high quality 60fps HDR and Dolby Stereo. But Leo says he really doesn't get the advantage here. Serious gamers have a gaming PC or game console. So who is this aimed at?  But for those who are just getting into gaming and don't want to invest just yet in hardware, Stadia may be ideal.

FedEX Caters to Major Companies like WalMart

FedEx

Episode 1599

FedEx delivers for Walmart. Amazon delivers to UPS.  Are major companies taking sides? Amazon says that customers don't really want choice because there are too many choices out there. So they offer "Amazon's choice" to make it easier for shoppers to buy what they want. The technique is called Dark Patterns and it causes changes in the algorithm. Once you order Amazon's choice, you start getting more results like that.

Apple Announces Next Gen Cheesegrater Mac Pro Tower

Cheesegrater Mac Pro Tower

Episode 1598

This week at WWDC, Apple announced the return of the Cheesegrater Mac. That's right, the Cheesegrater is back, and Leo says it's as functional as it is a work of art. Starting at $5,000, the new Cheesegrater comes with an Intel Xeon Processor, 32GB of RAM, and dual video cards. The starting price is $6,000. Apple also announced the XDR Pro 32" 6K monitor, at a price of $5,000. But that doesn't come with a stand, which is another $1,000. That's like buying a car without wheels. But a nicely equipped MacPro for professional performance is likely to cost you at least $25,000.