XKCD's Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

· · Cool Stuff Found

Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.

XKCD’s Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

Someone Is Slipping Malware Into Android Devices in the Supply Chain

· · Editorial

Android assembly line with a hacker breaking into them

Get this: someone is slipping malware into Android devices while they’re still in the supply chain. Security firm Check Point found evidence that malware, adnets, spyware, and even ransomware was installed on some 36 Android devices before customers touched them. Devices from Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, ZTE, Lenovo, Asus, and Oppo were included in Check Point’s report. Bryan Chaffin explains.

Mazda Will Add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Retroactive for Some Models

· · Cool Stuff Found

Mazda announced Monday that it will (finally) add support for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto technologies. Cars.com reported (via AppleInsider) that Mazda was short on specifics, but that support for both platforms will be retroactive with models that have Mazda Connect. That platform first appeared in in the 2014 Mazda3. There’s no specific timeline for the rollout, but Mazda made the announcement as part of the 2017 introduction of the Mazda CX-5 (pictured below). The company did say a “potentially minimal hardware addition” may be necessary, but it didn’t explain what that might be or how much it will cost. Cars.com also noted that once Mazda is on board, Toyota will be the last major holdout to support these mobile connectivity platforms from Apple and Google.

Mazda Will Add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Retroactive for Some Models

Googlers Made This Social Video App For iPhone

· · Product News

Google released a new video app called Uptime. The release is significant, in part, because it’s the result of the company’s 20 Percent Time program that allows some employees to spend 20 percent of their time on other projects. Released through Google’s internal incubator Area 120, the app is part social media platform and part video viewer with hooks to YouTube.

Use BookBub To Get iBooks Recommendations

· · Cool Stuff Found

A cool website called BookBub offers eBook recommendations. You can choose from a variety of book genres you’re interested in, including Mysteries, Thrillers and Action; Romance; Fiction; Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror; Teen and Young Readers; and Nonfiction. BookBub specifically suggests eBooks that are on sale. I’ve used BookBub for a couple of years, and I’ve gotten eBooks as low as US$0.99. It displays eBooks from Amazon, Google Play and iBooks. BookBub has an iOS app, but that version only shows iBooks offerings. If you sign up via the website, you’ll also see Amazon and Google offerings. After you select the genres you like, you can get a daily email with eBook deals.

Use BookBub To Get iBooks Recommendations

Trump Reportedly Drafts Executive Order Targeting Visas Used by Apple and Other Techs

· · Analysis

Macro of a U.S. Visa in a passport

The White House has reportedly drafted an executive order that would target visas used by Apple and other tech companies. According to Bloomberg, the Trump administration wants to change the rules for temporary worker visas known as H-1B, L-1, E-2 and B1. Those rules changes would affect the ways several American companies recruit skilled workers overseas.

WebP Comes to iOS 10, macOS Sierra Betas: What You Need to Know

· · Analysis

WebP in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra betas

Apple added support for Google’s WebP image format to Safari in the beta versions of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, which could make websites load faster. “Could,” in this case, assumes Apple keeps WebP support in the shipping versions of its operating systems, and Web developers adopt the format for their site images.

How to Limit Pokémon GO's Access to Your Google Account

· · How-To

Pokémon Go Google account permissions

Nintendo and Niantic’s wildly popular Pokémon GO came under fire only days after it launched when users found out the game had permission to access everything in their Google accounts. Niantic said the game checked only basic account information and wasn’t supposed to get unfettered access to everything. There’s an patch out that fixes the permissions issue, but you’ll need to do more than simply install the update. Read on to learn how to limit Pokémon GO’s access to your Google account.

Senator Warren: Apple, Amazon, Google Killing Competition

· · Analysis

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Apple, Amazon, and Google are abusing their market strength to block competition from smaller companies, according to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). In a speech  at the America’s Monopoly Problem on Wednesday, she said the three companies are using their size to “snuff out competition,” and she’s at least partly right.