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Every part in life has trade-offs. You’ll be able to eat that scrumptious ice cream, however at a value to your waistline. In know-how, the trade-offs might be dire. The cool and helpful know-how you like may accuse the flawed particular person of against the law or allow 4 firms to have huge affect over our lives.
However look, I’ve been writing quite a bit not too long ago concerning the downsides to our (metaphorical) waistlines from know-how, and I wished to bask in a little bit ice cream.
So I requested our On Tech readers to inform us concerning the know-how that makes their life fabulous. About 100 of you had options, from the common to the obscure. One reader waxed poetic concerning the thermos, which isn’t what I had in thoughts however I WILL ALLOW IT. (A flowery Japanese journey mug is my favourite possession.)
Due to our On Tech editor Hanna Ingber for selecting a number of gems. They’ve been frivolously edited. Wave howdy at Hanna by your display screen.
The tech invention that makes my life fabulous is LiveBarn, a subscription streaming service that places remote-controlled cameras in hockey rinks across the nation and in Canada in order that I can watch my grandchildren play at any time when they aren’t native. — Max Goldsmith, Newton, Mass.
I nonetheless play Pokémon Go every day more than four years after its launch. It gives me an incentive to get outside, explore cities and find new places. I’ve made new friends while playing. I traveled to Chicago last summer for the game’s annual festival. Most importantly, while I’m playing I can’t be using other social media on my phone. — Jason Weill, Seattle
For me, GPS has to be the winner. Getting directions on my phone has enabled me to see places I would otherwise never have seen, get places I needed to with optimal speed, find family members and get them help in record time in emergency situations. It even helped me find my car in an airport parking lot. I find I go more places with confidence and spontaneity when the downside risk of getting lost is eliminated. — Linda Abraham, Tiburon, Calif.
I am a 73-year-old woman living alone with chronic health issues. Ever since my first candy-bar phone, I have felt safer because help is just a phone number away, even on the most deserted road. The confidence and self-reliance my phone affords me cannot be overstated, but I think it makes my son who lives 850 miles from me feel better too. — Barbara Sloan, Conway, S.C.
My favorite tech invention: the thermos. You put in something hot and it stays hot; you put in something cold and it stays cold. But how does it know? — Tom Schroeder, San Diego
As an avid reader, I was sure nothing could surpass the feel of a paper book in my hands … until I experienced the ease of binge reading an entire series over the course of a weekend without leaving the house because I can purchase each new book instantaneously. — Jen V., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I became a paraplegic 15 years ago. Ebay and Amazon have been instrumental in allowing me to be a fussy shopper without leaving my home. — Derek Porritt, Toronto
A little over a year ago I purchased a late model car that has blind-spot detection technology, and it’s great! It has saved me (several times) from being hit by drivers either trying to pass on the right or from cars traveling in my blind spot in a left hand lane that sped up when I put on the directional signal. — Steve Filipek, Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
When traveling to places where I don’t speak the language and people don’t speak English I really appreciate having Google Images, because you can just show them a picture of what you want and hand signs will fix the rest! This would of course work with any search engine. — Zhuzhell Montano, Braunschweig, Germany
Online mobile device bank deposits are a terrific improvement over mailing in or going to the bank to make deposits. — Robert Breuer, Berkeley, Calif.
Spotify, the streaming service that compiles any possible song I could want or think of, has instrumentally improved my life, made doing chores easier, and provided the jams and soundtrack for my most exciting nights and times. — Stephanie Christensen, Phoenix
I’m a widowed great-grandmother in my tenth decade, living alone. My family is scattered all over the globe. WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom and Google Meet (with instant captions) have been a lifeline for me. Seeing my children and grandchildren’s faces and talking with them on a regular basis, sometimes daily, has made the lockdown and isolation bearable. I’m aware of the nefariousness of Big Data. But this technology cancels it out for me. — Blanche Korngold, Brookline, Mass.
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Buying TikTok might be a steal AND a nightmare
Microsoft has been the shining star in the strange saga of the U.S. government forcing the Chinese app TikTok to sell part of itself or leave the country.
Microsoft has a shot at buying parts of TikTok, one of the biggest app breakthroughs in years, for what could be a lowball price because of White House intervention. Or … maybe this steal is really a nightmare?
Here are three potential minefields that Microsoft might be wading into:
Is Microsoft buying a husk of an app? As my colleague Kevin Roose wrote in his latest column, part of TikTok’s success is its computer formula that shows people one video after another tailored to their tastes.
Microsoft is negotiating to buy the TikTok app in four countries, with its current owner, ByteDance, keeping the rest. Kevin asked whether Microsoft would get the keys to TikTok’s algorithm in a possible takeover. If not, Microsoft might be paying a ton of money without getting TikTok’s secret sauce.
Owning an online gathering place is a nightmare: Greg Bensinger, a member of The New York Times editorial board, asked whether Microsoft is prepared to take over TikTok and deal with dangerous PizzaGate conspiracies, bullying of children, misinformation about the coronavirus and lots of extra horrors.
As a result of Microsoft largely sells boring software program to companies, it has largely been disregarded of the current questions on whether or not America’s tech giants are too massive or unhealthy. Does Microsoft see the fixed scorching water that Fb is in and assume, “Sure, please?”
The potential for retaliation from (at the very least) one authorities: Think about a 12 months from now if Microsoft does one thing that annoys a U.S. authorities official. I can already see the tweet or a speech in Congress that claims, “The U.S. authorities handed Microsoft a deal of a lifetime, and now it’s betraying us by [fill-in-the-blank grievance].”
In politics, good deeds — and pushing TikTok into Microsoft’s arms may rely as a superb deed — normally include strings connected.
Earlier than we go …
Digging into the enchantment and unfold of QAnon: Charlie Warzel, an Opinion author for The Instances, interviews a designer of alternate actuality video games concerning the parallels to the harmful, baseless conspiracy concept known as QAnon. Each faucet right into a want to hunt for clues to unravel mysteries.
And in a Twitter thread, Kevin Roose explains why seemingly innocuous information articles had been shared broadly on Fb as a part of the conspiracy, and the way non-public Fb teams might be harmful hubs for QAnon followers.
“With out Black tradition, TikTok wouldn’t even be a factor”: Wired talks to Black individuals who use TikTok avidly and imagine that their work and Black cultural expression is often misappropriated or twisted by white individuals on the app. In addition they stated they believed TikTok unfairly singles out Black creators’ movies for removing however doesn’t take motion towards racist harassment. TikTok advised Wired that it was listening to suggestions from Black creators and analyzing racial bias in algorithms.
The historical past of app battles in a single video: I can’t categorical how completely this video by the comedian Jeff Wright sums up the historical past of animosity between Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and different apps. It accommodates multitudes, however one story line right here is that Instagram simply launched a copycat of TikTok, after it beforehand copied Snapchat and earlier than that helped kill off Vine, which was TikTok earlier than TikTok. Bought it?
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