New App Claims to Improve Your Vision

Screenshot of GlassesOff appThe downside: It's work, not fun.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Presbyopia, or farsightedness caused by the loss of elasticity in your eyes as you age, affects 83 percent of adults over the age of 45 in North America, and nearly everyone is forced to wear glasses by the time they hit 50.

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Combined with an increasing concern for the long-term effects of staring at a screen all day, the future starts to look blurry. But studies show that smartphone apps might retrain your brain to improve your sight.
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Botnet 101

Illustration of how botnets workSome are helpful ... and some are used for spyware and fraud.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

The ongoing war between malicious hackers and technology security specialists has been waging for as long as the Internet has been widely used.

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One tool in the arsenal is called a botnet. A botnet essentially is a number of devices that are connected by the Internet and controlled remotely by the botnet’s owner.
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3 Big Data Career Opportunities

Abstract illustration of binary data flowPlus specific skills needed.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

In our super-connected world, the data we are generating makes big data an inviting career field for young people.

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"Big" hardly seems large enough to describe big data these days. With connected devices like Fitbits and smartphones, massive amounts of data are created every day at an exponential rate. But the sheer size of big data isn't what is most impressive; it's the gold mine of business insights it offers when analyzed.
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Samsung’s Bixby to Challenge Apple’s Siri

Samsung Bixby featureDedicated button rolls out on the S8.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Confirming rumors, Samsung has revealed the existence of "Bixby," a new AI assistant that debuted with the Galaxy S8 and will challenge Apple's Siri with some new technologies.

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Bixby, for instance, can handle many tasks that otherwise use touch or button input, Samsung said.
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USB Firewall Protects Against Malicious Device Attacks

It's not paranoia if they're really after you.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

The USG is a small, portable hardware USB firewall that isolates a potentially harmful device from your computer. It's designed to prevent malicious USB sticks and devices laden with malware from infecting your computer.

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You might be thinking, "What's the point?" The problem is that most computers automatically trust every USB device that's plugged in, which means malicious code can run without warning.

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Overhyping IBM’s Watson Is Dangerous

H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb and IBM SVP David Kenny
H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb, left, and IBM SVP David Kenny announced Feb. 1 that H&R Block’s tax professionals at approximately 10,000 branch offices across the U.S. would use a new, consumer-facing technology that incorporates IBM Watson – the largest deployment of Watson in retail locations.

Watson is the Chuck Norris of cognitive computing.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

By now, every tax practitioner has noticed H&R Block’s highly touted alliance with IBM’s artificial intelligence engine, Watson.

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But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
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The 10,000 Steps a Day Myth

Woman using activity tracker at gymHow fitness apps can do more harm than good.

By Rick Richardson
Technology This Week

Around 21 million fitness trackers were sold in 2016 and the 2017 forecast by Gartner is 25 million, with the promise of monitoring and improving activity levels.

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Devices and health apps that advise people to walk 10,000 steps a day could be doing more harm than good, scientists have warned.
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