Homepod First Look
Apple just released its first speaker, which doubles as a personal assistant. We decided to take one for a spin and see how it works.
Like all Apple products, the packaging is minimal, with little instruction included. In terms of plug and play, you would expect this from Apple. Not so fast, as no where does it tell you about making sure you have the Apple Home app installed and working. With a little help from the website, the speaker came to life.
Once connected to your iOS device, using the speaker is as simple as saying “Hey Siri”… Want to play music, Hey Siri play music. Want to know the weather, Hey Siri, what’s the temperature? The unit has no external buttons so everything is done by asking Siri, or using tapping commands on the top of the speaker.
All in all the music quality is excellent. And unless you forget and ask Alexa to help, it is very responsive. Obviously the unit is more expensive than comparable products, but if you use other Apple products add this one to your arsenal, and you will enjoy it.
$19.4 Billion Lost to Cybercriminals in 2017
As we make our way into 2018, many look back at how 2017 wrapped up. Cybersecurity firm Symantec, makers of Norton antivirus software, investigated and reported on the large amount of people who have been affected by cybercrime throughout the last year.
The report shows that 69% of millennials feel victim to cybercrime, and overall, about 143 million people in the U.S. alone were hit by some form of malware, virus, spyware, or a phishing scam. Globally, the number jumps to 978 million internet users who were scammed by tech savvy criminals. The monetary results of these scams is about $19.4 billion lost to cybercriminals in the U.S., and about 20 hours of time dealing with the impact; globally, the amount jumps to $172 billion.
Many of these losses can be attributed to consumers making some basic missteps in securing their own data. For example, 60% of U.S. users affected have shared at least one of their passwords to one of their accounts with another person, putting them at an even higher risk of being hacked, especially if the other people get hacked. Symantec has a few suggestions to make 2018 a safer and less expensive cyber year for you including changing your passwords every few months or more often, using different passwords for different accounts, as well as using an antivirus program for extra protection. To learn more about cybercriminals and how to protect yourself from them, visit here.
Google Chrome Update
An update to Google Chrome, first announced last year, was finally made a reality this month. The browser now bans intrusive advertising by default on mobile devices and desktop computers.
Whether it be full-page pop-ups, blaring video pitches that automatically start, or large ads blocking the content you actually want to see, Google is here to do something about the problem and change the average person’s day on the internet, for the better. While the update is not a universal ad blocker, it acts as a filter, affecting only those websites that allow four types of desktop ads and eight types of mobile ads violating standards. The standards were created by the Coalition for Better Ads, a group Google is a member of. This change will give Google an even greater role in shaping the web, keeping the entire ecosystem of the web healthy and improving it for all. The filter will be rolled out gradually to all of the browser’s users and is generally being embraced by the industry. Website operators have had plenty of time in advance to become compliant; those who violate the standards will be given 30 days to make corrections in the future or risk having all of their website ads disabled by Google.
To learn more about Google Chrome’s update and the tech giant’s singular position in the modern web, visit here.