Alan Buckingham

Update Chrome now, it has a zero-day exploit

Zero Day

We’re much more used to security flaws now after years of being conditioned to hearing about them from various sources. Some software makers handle vulnerabilities better than others of course, but remember, software is inherently complicated and it’s being written by flawed humans so mistakes are inevitable. 

Today Sergei Glazunov of Google Project Zero reports on a new flaw in Google Chrome, the sixth zero-day affecting the browser this year. Very little information has been released on the vulnerability, but from what we can learn it seems to be in the Javascript engine that powers Chrome. 

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SmartThings updates its home automation app to make it faster and easier to use

Home automation is settling into its place in the world, with more and more people embracing it. Predictions have the home automation market hitting 350 million users by 2023.

Most people start simple with lightbulbs that can be controlled remotely, or a security camera or a water leak sensor to notify you of an emergency wherever you are. Some items can even be controlled by voice through a third-party service like Alexa. The big thing, especially for new users, is ease of setup and use.

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If you're unfortunate enough to be in the path of a hurricane, Amazon has a plan to help

Yesterday we celebrated Memorial Day, and this year it’s followed immediately by a more infamous day. June 1 of each year marks the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. It runs through December 1, but remember, mother nature doesn’t always follow our schedules and directions -- one hurricane already formed in mid-May. 

Most don’t reach land and those that do frequently amount to little, but then you also have the likes of Katrina or Sandy that can prove devastating. Maria knocked out power for months in Puerto Rico in 2017. 

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What is your backup solution now?

Data folders backup

For a while backup solutions were a dominant topic in the tech sphere. That was in the days when external drive sizes were growing rapidly and the cloud was becoming a thing. It seems the services have now become established and the frail weeded out. Most storage drives today are larger than most people need. 

If you’ve been around a while, as I have, you’ll remember when ZIP Drives -- like oversize floppy drives -- were the hot new backup product. Like all the "latest things", people invested a lot of money in that solution but it was short-lived. 

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Raise your vodka martini, Amazon buys MGM

Not much time goes past these days without media news, and the movie industry is in a constant state of change at this time. Is that a good thing? It depends what you’re looking for. 

Today if that happens to be Bond, James Bond, then you’ll want think about signing up to Amazon Prime in the future -- if you haven't already -- as that’s where 007 will be moving to, along with Elle Woods and Rocky Balboa, and a plethora of other MGM properties.

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Much anticipated Donald Trump blog considered a failure

Donald Trump

After being removed from all social media following the January 6 insurrection -- his beloved Twitter, along with Facebook, YouTube and Instagram -- it was determined that the best way to get Donald Trump back online would be a blog. A place for him to type thoughts and feelings, a stream of consciousness, much as his tweets were. If you missed his typos and random capital letters then it could be the place for you. 

However, there currently aren’t a lot of entries on his new blog and he isn’t a riveting writer. Worse still, the Washington Post speculates that interest in him is simply wavering. 

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Sonos is reportedly working on earbuds

Audio company Sonos is well known for its speakers and soundbars, and last year the company filed a patent that showed it had wireless headphones in development too.

That's not the only product in the pipeline though as Sonos is also reportedly working on earbuds. Development is in early stages however, so things could change or perhaps the product never sees the light of day.

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SentiLink's new ID Theft Scores targets stolen identities used to open financial accounts

identity theft

Security has become slightly more difficult these days given that many people are now working at home and online. That’s just the beginning of the headaches for firms. 

SentiLink, a leading security company, is trying to fight back against identity fraud with a new ID Theft Scores program. This is designed to complement its Synthetic Scores that are already in place and used by used by many top financial institutions in the US. 

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Fear of automation is part of the pandemic


We’re nowhere close to being out of the woods just yet, with COVID-19 death rates in the US still averaging around a 1,000 a day, but we're starting to get there at last thanks in part to a robust vaccination program.

However, the after-effects of the pandemic's impact will linger long after the illness subsides. According to new research, a lot of people are losing their jobs as a result of automation. 

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AI-powered Deep Nostalgia tool brings old photos to life

Most of us have old photos of family members, with some people having pictures dating back to the 1800s. If you've ever wondered what those ancestors would look like moving, you can now find out. At least to an extent.

My Heritage has introduced an AI-powered tool capable of animating your old photos. The example at the bottom of this story is a picture from around 1880. 

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My first month with discovery+

The Discovery Network started as the Discovery Channel, but it’s grown at lot since the early days and now encompasses the Food Network, History Channel, DIY Network, HGTV, Lifetime, and more. There's a lot of content.

If you're a fan of the network's programming, as I am, then the new discovery+ streaming service (which launched in the United States at the start of January) will no doubt appeal as it's home to all of your favorite Discovery shows (past and present), plus a wealth of original content.

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SiriusXM changed its display? There's an easy fix

Sirius and XM started as different companies, but it was clear there wasn’t room in the market for both, so they had to figure something out. The result was a merger to become SiriusXM. It’s a bit of an odd name, but it gets the point across. 

Now that the two companies are one, they have expanded a lot. There are countless extra stations and more come online regularly. You can even get ones dedicated to a particular artist -- U2, and Elton John to name just two. But the big draw is particular genres like 80s alternative, classic country and so on. 

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Disney+ is bringing back The Mighty Ducks

Disney+ has been a huge success, thanks in part to original content like The Mandalorian, Mulan, Soul and, most recently, WandaVision.

Now the media and theme park giant is announcing the return of The Mighty Ducks. Although based on the movie from 30 or so years ago, this time around it's going to be a TV series.

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Set aside some extra time, Sling DVR Plus space quadruples

If you’re an avid Sling user then you likely pay the extra $5 per month for the cloud DVR Plus service. It works like any other DVR, except recordings just aren’t on your hard drive. The TV service has been providing this for a couple of years and it’s been a big frustration for many users because the limit was a bit stingy. 

No longer -- the company has upped the space in a big way and, if you haven’t already, you’ll be getting a notification the next time you sign in. 

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COVID-19 has hurt physical book sales and helped audio and digital

You would expect the recent coronavirus crisis to have helped digital entertainment, but with reading it is still led by the traditional hardback and softback formats. However, the pandemic is helping to dethrone physical books, as people are more cautious about going out. While paper books still lead the market, their dominance is shrinking. 

Information in a new infographic sheds a lot of light on the current state of our perusal of tomes. For instance, India is the most well-read country in the world, while the US lags in 22nd place. 

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