Technology News

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  • Banned brand Aukey is still selling earbuds on Amazon
    by Sean Hollister on July 25, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    When Amazon started cracking down on mobile electronics companies with shady reviewer programs, Aukey and Mpow were the first to get whacked — and yet Aukey is still selling at least three sets of wireless earbuds at the giant online retailer, The Verge has found. Two weeks ago, I pointed out to Amazon PR that both Aukey and Mpow had seemingly found a way around their bans. Mpow had an “xMpow MFly” set of wireless Bluetooth headphones, and Aukey was selling several different sets under its “Key Series” sub-brand. I’ve been watching their product pages ever since, and today I noticed that the xMpow MFly has disappeared. But Key Series is alive and well with three products. Aukey appears to be paying Amazon extra to promote them in... Continue reading…

  • The Steam Deck has an ‘optional built-in FPS limiter’ for better battery life
    by Sean Hollister on July 25, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    When Valve and IGN revealed last Thursday that the new Steam Deck handheld will target 30Hz gameplay, not everyone was impressed with that low bar — but Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais has taken to Twitter to clarify his original comment, and reveal a new feature of the portable console. First, he says 30 fps is more of a minimum bar than anything else: @Plagman2 (Twitter) “The ‘30 FPS target’ refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we’ve tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far,” he writes. In other words, when Griffais said in that IGN video interview that “We haven’t really found something that we could throw at this device that it couldn’t... Continue reading…

  • New trailers: Dune, Star Trek: Prodigy, The Last Duel, Blade Runner: Black Lotus, and more
    by Kim Lyons on July 24, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in Dune | Legendary Happy Saturday! Posting the trailers roundup a day early this weekend since I’ll be on vacation starting Sunday (and shout out to the reader who said he preferred when we did the roundup on Saturdays, you got your wish at least for this weekend). The internet (or at least the little corner I inhabit) seemed divided into camps this week: people who really like the Apple TV Plus show Ted Lasso and people who... don’t. It’s OK to not like things! I had a longer rant prepared about how the effort to look cool online seems so exhausting but really, who cares, Ted Lasso has returned for season two and it’s still a lovely, warm-hearted show about a bunch of very likeable weirdos. We ended up with a very sci-fi themed roundup this week which... Continue reading…

  • Robinhood’s IPO roadshow answered questions I wasn’t asking
    by Elizabeth Lopatto on July 24, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge “What’s your favorite planet?” is a real question that Robinhood execs really picked to answer during the Q&A section of its retail investor roadshow. “Definitely Pluto,” says long-haired CEO Vlad Tenev. He is having a good time. He goes on to explain that there will be a great view of Venus tonight after sunset. The first meme IPO Many of the questions the management picked have been lackluster; asked if Robinhood will add a customer support line, Tenev cheerily explains there already is one. Another question is wasted on whether the stock will pay dividends — anyone who read the prospectus knows the answer is no. I am watching this roadshow — my first, and the first, I suspect, of many who are watching — because Robinhood plans to sell... Continue reading…

  • GM, Cruise suing to stop Ford from using the name ‘BlueCruise’
    by Kim Lyons on July 24, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    GM is suing Ford over the BlueCruise name for its hands-free driving system | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge General Motors has filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Ford from using the name “BlueCruise” for the hands-free driving feature it announced earlier this year. First reported by the Detroit Free Press, GM claims the name is too close Super Cruise, the name of is own hands-free driving technology introduced in 2017, and to its autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise. GM is suing Ford for trademark infringement and unspecified damages. In the lawsuit filed Friday, GM said in that the companies had been involved in “protracted discussions” over the name but were unable to resolve the matter. “Ford knew exactly what it was doing,” GM alleges in its complaint, adding that if Ford “wanted to adopt a new, unique brand, it easily could have done so... Continue reading…

  • How Do Delivery Robots Work? How They Safely Deliver Your Packages
    by Gavin Phillips on August 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

    A distant future involving robotic package deliveries is now very much a reality. Advances in robotics, GPS tracking, automation, and navigation now mean you might not find a delivery person at your door with your package. You might find a delivery robot instead. With semi-autonomous robots beginning to enter the world, here’s a look at how delivery robots work. What Is a Delivery Robot? A delivery robot is an automated robot that brings your delivery directly to your door. These robots aren’t walking and talking humanoids; rather, these robots are cute delivery containers on six wheels, resembling giant (but friendly-looking!)...Read the full article: How Do Delivery Robots Work? How They Safely Deliver Your Packages

  • Step Up Your Pomodoro Productivity With These 6 Methods
    by Lee Nathan on August 19, 2020 at 10:00 am

    If you’ve ever used the Pomodoro Technique, you’ve probably noticed an increase in productivity and focus. But most people aren’t aware that there’s a lot more you can do with it. The way that it breaks up your day can lead to some powerful benefits. Let’s take a look at some less traditional methods to apply the Pomodoro Technique to. If you’re not familiar with it, check out the basics of Pomodoro first. 1. Goal Setting Have you ever finished a day and felt like you didn’t get enough done? Sometimes you might have actually had a productive day, but...Read the full article: Step Up Your Pomodoro Productivity With These 6 Methods

  • Portable, Powerful Solar Panel: Maxoak SP120 Review
    by James Bruce on August 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Our verdict of the Maxoak SP120:Weighing less than 7lbs, the Maxoak SP120 outputs a serious amount of power in a convenient and portable package. You're paying a premium for the portability though, so consider if you actually need to carry it around or whether a static panel could do the job. 1010Most portable solar panels are tiny and really only designed to trickle charge a smartphone. If you have a large portable battery pack then finding a suitably powerful and genuinely portable solar panel can be tricky. The Maxoak SP120 is both affordable, portable, and with 120W output, powerful enough...Read the full article: Portable, Powerful Solar Panel: Maxoak SP120 Review

  • How to Access Region Blocked Videos Without a VPN
    by Christian Cawley on August 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Wherever you are in the world there is always a reason to want to bypass region blocking. For example, internet users outside the US might want to access Netflix or Hulu; those in the US might want the UK version of BBC iPlayer. To combat this, VPNs are popular—but they’re not the best solution. Here’s how to watch geo-blocked videos without VPN software. Why VPNs Aren’t Great for Bypassing Region Blocks When you connect to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) your internet traffic is forwarded through the VPN server. So, if you’re in the UK and you connect to a...Read the full article: How to Access Region Blocked Videos Without a VPN

  • 11 Basic Encryption Terms Everyone Should Know by Now
    by Gavin Phillips on August 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Chances are that you’re familiar with the word encryption. You’ve probably heard about how important it is, as well as how vital it is for keeping so much of our hyper-networked lives secure. Use WhatsApp? You’re using encryption. Log into online banking? Same again. Have to ask the barista for a Wi-Fi code? That’s because you’re connecting to a network using encryption—the password is the key. But even though we use encryption in our day-to-day lives, most encryption terminology remains mysterious. Here’s a list of 11 essential encryption terms you need to understand. 1. Plaintext Let’s start with the most...Read the full article: 11 Basic Encryption Terms Everyone Should Know by Now

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  • 10 Gboard shortcuts that'll change how you type on Android
    by JR Raphael on July 24, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    If there's one thing we Android-totin' pterodactyls take for granted, it's just how good we've got it when it comes to typing out text on our pocket-sized phone machines.It's all too easy to lose sight of over time, but Goog almighty, lemme tell ya: Typing on Android is an absolute delight. And all it takes is 10 seconds of trying to wrestle with the on-screen keyboards on that other smartphone platform to appreciate our advantage.We've got plenty of exceptional keyboard choices 'round these parts, too, but Google's Gboard keyboard has really risen up as the best all-around option for Android input as of late. That's in large part because of its top-notch typing basics and its seamless integration of tasty Google intelligence, but it's also because of all the clever little shortcuts it has lurking beneath its surface.To read this article in full, please click here

  • Apple admins get a new remote support option
    by Jonny Evans on July 23, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    Apple administrators in the enterprise and education markets now have a new remote access option  thanks to a new integration between Addigy and Splashtop.Splashtop comes to Addigy The move means Splashtop, which already has over 30 million users — including many Fortune 500 companies — is now the exclusive default remote support solution included in Addigy. It should be a helpful integration since it lets technicians and admins use Addigy's cloud-based solution for troubleshooting problems remotely.To read this article in full, please click here

  • Biggest tech IPOs of 2021
    by Scott Carey on July 23, 2021 at 11:30 am

    The 2020 calendar year will long be remembered as an annus horribilis for most, except for a handful of technology companies that reaped the rewards of a global shift to remote work with successful initial public offerings (IPOs).US companies alone raised a record $435 billion in stock sales in 2020, with more than a quarter of that figure coming from IPOs — far outstripping 2014's mark of $279 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The vast majority of those new listings defined themselves as technology companies.To read this article in full, please click here

  • Avoid calendar clashes with a new breed of scheduling apps
    by Paul Gillin on July 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

    What’s the longest it has ever taken you to schedule a meeting? I can recall being on email chains that lasted weeks, with 60 or more replies-to-all flying around to a dozen people. As soon as everyone agrees on a time, of course, someone’s schedule changes and the whole process starts over again.Scheduling meetings is a task that has stubbornly resisted automation in part because the tools have been poorly integrated and also because of people’s natural inclination to do everything by email. Scheduling solutions may be in for a revival, though, now that businesses are settling on a limited spectrum of office productivity tools and artificial intelligence is coming into the picture.To read this article in full, please click here

  • How to fix a frozen Start menu or taskbar in Windows 10
    by Ed Tittel on July 23, 2021 at 10:00 am

    From time to time, certain key elements in the Windows 10 user interface go dormant. You click on or touch the Start menu icon, or other icons in the taskbar, and nothing happens. Keep trying, and nothing keeps happening. This can be anywhere from frustrating to infuriating.To read this article in full, please click here(Insider Story)

  • What Car Did Harry Lyon Drive? - The Answer to Tuesday's Search Challenge
    by (Richard Byrne) on July 24, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    On Tuesday I shared a search challenge and wrote that you could email me if you wanted the answers to the questions in the challenge. I got a lot more emails than I thought I would. And some people I emailed the answers to wrote back asking for more details about the process of finding the answers. So yesterday morning I spent time writing out the process of finding the answers to Tuesday's search challenge. If you missed the challenge, you can find it here. The solution is detailed below. There are a few ways to arrive at the answers. What I’ve outlined below is the most direct way to get to the answers. (Thanks again to Daniel Russell’s Joy of Search for inspiring the development of search challenges like this one). Step 1: Identify the airplane and its historical significance. The image itself gives us a big hint. Do a quick Google search for “southern cross airplane” and the top result will be a Wikipedia page about the airplane. It’s important to include “airplane” in the search because searching Google for just “southern cross” will put a music video of the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song Southern Cross at the top of the results. Further down the search results page for “southern cross” you’ll find links to articles about the constellation of the same name, links to an energy company, and links to a Brazilian award for chivalry. In fact, you won’t see any reference to an airplane in the first ten pages of Google search results when searching “southern cross.” Furthermore, “southern cross airplane” isn’t even a term that Google suggests when you enter “southern cross.” As mentioned above, the top Google search result for “southern cross airplane” is the Wikipedia page about the airplane. Read through that page and you’ll learn that it was the first aircraft to be flown from the United States to Australia. Step 2: Identify who flew on the airplane. Also on that same Wikipedia page you’ll learn that the four members of the flight crew were Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm, Harry Lyon, and James Warner. Once you’ve identified who the members of the flight crew were, the next step is to figure out which one had a connection to Maine. To do this, open the Wikipedia page for each member of the flight crew then use keyboard commands of CTRL+F (Windows computers) or COMMAND+F (Mac computers) to search each page for the word “Maine.” Only the pages for Charles Kingsford Smith and Harry Lyon include a match for “Maine” and the match on Smith’s page is only found in the context of the word “remained.” Lyon’s page includes “Maine” as part of a link to the Maine Memory Network’s website which is mentioned in the hints for this challenge. Step 3: Find the reference to Paris Hill. If you follow the link to the Maine Memory Network from the Wikipedia page about Harry Lyon, you’ll find a fairly long article about Lyon and his life including that his parents bought a house on Paris Hill and Lyon later lived there. Alternatively, you could have followed the hint about using the Maine Memory Network’s website then headed there to do a search within the site for references to Harry Lyon. Step 4: Find the reference to a car. At the very bottom of this Maine Memory Network page about Harry Lyon you’ll see a picture of Lyon sitting in a car in his driveway in 1927. (The image is copyrighted so you'll have to view it there).  Step 5: Identify the car.This is the hardest part of the whole challenge. To do this you’ll want to enlarge the picture found on the Maine Memory Network’s article about Lyon. Fortunately, they provide a zoomable version of the image. By zooming in on the image you can look at some important details including the shape of the front door on the car, the shape of the front of the car, and a little badge on the front of the car. At this point the process becomes a little bit of guesswork followed by a process of comparison and elimination. There are some points to consider before guessing at what kind of car is in the picture. Here’s a list of those points to consider: First, the picture was taken in 1927, a year before the flight of the Southern Cross. From reading about him, we know that Lyon was not a man of exceptional wealth, but probably middle to upper-middle class. Based on Lyon’s financial standing as well as looking at the details of the car we can probably remove luxury brands from our guesswork. When we zoom-in on the car we can see that it has some imperfections as the result of driving and or post-manufacturing modification. Notable, there are what appears to be two wooden bench seats behind the driver’s seat. The back half of the body appears to be wooden as well. Now that we’ve considered the points above we can start guessing at the manufacturer of the car and the production year. Noting that cars didn’t significantly change from one model year to the next at this time, if they did at all, we’re guessing the year according to decade or half-decade is a viable approach to this challenge. At this point, turning to Google Image search is our next step. A search for “1920s cars” or “1910s cars” is a starting place. However, those results generally feature examples of luxury cars of the time. We’re looking for cars that could have been owned by middle to upper-middle class people of the time. At this point in the process it’s helpful to have a list of American car manufacturers of the 1910s and 1920s. Again, we may turn to Wikipedia for such a list or to any number of antique car websites for such a list. Based on the lists of American car manufacturers and what we know about Lyon, Ford is the most common guess as it was the most popular brand in the United States at the time and is still in the forefront of Americans’ minds today when they think of automobile manufacturers. Some adults will still think of Studebaker as an American car manufacturer. Dodge is also a common guess as it satisfies both the price and popularity components of our quest. So now it’s a matter of comparing pictures of cars produced by those manufacturers during the 1910s and early 1920s. Use Google Images to find images of Ford, Studebaker, and Dodge cars produced in those decades. Compare the pictures closely to those of the picture of Lyon sitting in his car and you’ll start to notice that the shape of the door in his car doesn’t match those of Ford and Studebaker (they’re not as rounded at the bottom). The front of Lyon’s vehicle is also more rounded than that of the Fords and Studebakers made at the same time. A final detail is on the hood of the car when we look at the radiator caps of the vehicles. In all three cases, the Dodge examples are consistent with what we see in the picture of Lyon in his car. The final answer is a Dodge Touring car produced around 1919 (give or take a year) that was modified in the back. Disclosure: I spent at least ten hours comparing images of cars to the one of Lyon sitting in his car. To verify my information about the car I enlisted the help of one the top antique car preservationists in the country, Jeff Orwig. Jeff is a friend of mine and the curator of Bob Bahre’s exquisite car collection housed on Paris Hill in Paris, Maine. You can read more about the collection here. 

  • Chat, Search, and Puffins - The Week in Review
    by (Richard Byrne) on July 24, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Good morning from Maine where the sun is rising and I'm about to head out on an early morning bike ride. Before I do that I have this quick week in review to share with you. This week I didn't host any webinars as I spent four days working on developing new materials about search strategies including developing a new search challenge for students. I also took a day off this week to go to the ocean with my family. We went looking for puffins and found hundreds of them! Unfortunately, I forgot to take my good camera with me so I don't have any good pictures. Oh well, that's a good excuse to go looking for puffins again later this summer. If you'd like to learn more about puffins in Maine, visit the Audubon Society's Project Puffin website. These were the week's most popular posts:1. Collect Chat - Turn a Google Form Into a Chatbot2. Getting Started With Google Forms - The Basics and More3. See the Elements Present in Common Products - The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words4. Three Places to Find Fun and Interesting Math Problems5. Add PhET Simulations to Your PowerPoint Slides6. Challenge - Introduce Students to Academic Search Engines and Databases7. GitMind - A Collaborative Mind Mapping and Outlining Tool On-demand Professional DevelopmentTen Search Strategies Students Need to KnowA Crash Course in Making & Teaching With VideoA Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social StudiesOn the Road Again!I'm accepting a limited number of invitations to speak at events during the 2021-2022 school year. If you're interested, please send me an email at richard (at) for more information. Other Places to Follow Me:The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.My YouTube channel has more than 36,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fourteen years. The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

  • A Timeline of Mathematics and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem
    by (Richard Byrne) on July 23, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    This week TED-Ed published a new video about Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. This is the latest in a long list of mathematics video lessons produced by TED-Ed. The timing of the video was perfect for me as I had planned on writing about Mathigon's Timeline of Mathematics this week. That timeline includes an entry about Gödel's incompleteness theorems.  Mathigon's Timeline of Mathematics is an interactive timeline of developments in mathematics throughout history. The timeline begins with the development of the first counting systems and progresses through today. Throughout the timeline there are images and names to click on to learn more about each development. For example, at the beginning of the timeline you can click on an image of the Ishango Bone to learn that this artifact is the oldest representation of early counting systems. Much later in the timeline you can click on the image of Kurt Gödel to learn about his contributions to mathematics and click on examples of his theorems in practice. Applications for Education The Timeline of Mathematics provides a good opportunity to combine mathematics and history into the same lesson. The early artifacts in the timeline are appropriate for use as an introduction to the development of counting and basic arthimetic. Items later in the timeline are more appropriate for conversations in middle school and high school settings.

  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources
    by (Richard Byrne) on July 23, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    A couple of times this week I have written about using primary sources in history lessons and or research lessons. That has reminded me of a couple of good videos that can help students understand the differences between primary and secondary sources. The Minnesota Historical Society offers a fantastic video on the topic of primary v. secondary sources. By watching the short video students can learn what a makes a resource a primary or secondary source. The video provides a handful of examples of each along with a description of what makes the example a primary or secondary source. This is probably the best video that I have seen explain the differences between primary and secondary sources.Using Primary & Secondary Sources is a video that was produced by the Oregon School Library Information System. The video is intended to help elementary school students understand the difference between primary and secondary sources. The video uses some clear examples of each type of source and how those sources can be used in the research and writing process. The best part is that there are examples aligned to multiple subject areas including art and science.

  • World History Commons - Annotated Primary Sources for Students
    by (Richard Byrne) on July 23, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    World History Commons offers a free collection of more than 1700 primary sources covering a wide array of themes and events in world history. The best part is that all of the primary sources in the collection are annotated with helpful notes for students. World History Commons also offers a collection of free teaching guides that incorporate the use of primary sources. The search function on World History Commons searches the entire site instead of just the primary source collection. The primary source collection itself does have some filters that you can apply as you browse through the collection. You can filter according to region of the world, time period, subject, and source type (audio, image, text, video, or object). The world, time period, and source type filters do exactly what you'd expect. The subject filter is a little trickier because some events could be classified into multiple subjects but might only appear under one of the filters. The teaching guides section of the World History Commons offers some lesson plans and advice on strategies for teaching with primary sources. The guides are aligned to specific primary sources within the World History Commons collection of primary sources. Your search for teaching guides can be refined according to time period, region, and subject. Applications for EducationThe World History Commons is a resource that everyone who teaches world history lessons should have bookmarked. While the primary sources on their own are useful, the annotations can help students understand the significance of what they're seeing and reading. The teaching guides are also helpful in providing some inspiration for how to use primary sources in a variety of settings. I particularly enjoyed reading through this guide to teaching about Chinese propaganda posters. 

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  • We just got our best-ever look at the inside of Mars
    by Tatyana Woodall on July 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    NASA’s InSight robotic lander has just given us our first look deep inside a planet other than Earth.  More than two years after its launch, seismic data that InSight collected has given researchers hints into how Mars was formed, how it has evolved over 4.6 billion years, and how it differs from Earth. A set of three new studies, published in Science this week, suggests that Mars has a…

  • Is the UK’s pingdemic good or bad? Yes.
    by Chris Stokel-Walker, Lindsay Muscato on July 23, 2021 at 8:00 am

    Oscar Maung-Haley, 24, was working a part-time job in a bar in Manchester, England, when his phone pinged. It was the UK’s NHS Test and Trace app letting him know he’d potentially been exposed to covid-19 and needed to self-isolate. The news immediately caused problems. “It was a mad dash around the venue to show…

  • DeepMind says it will release the structure of every protein known to science
    by Will Douglas Heaven on July 22, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Back in December 2020, DeepMind took the world of biology by surprise when it solved a 50-year grand challenge with AlphaFold, an AI tool that predicts the structure of proteins. Last week the London-based company published full details of that tool and released its source code. Now the firm has announced that it has used its…

  • An albino opossum proves CRISPR works for marsupials, too
    by Casey Crownhart on July 21, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Mice: check. Lizards: check. Squid: check. Marsupials … check. CRISPR has been used to modify the genes of tomatoes, humans, and just about everything in between. Because of their unique reproductive biology and their relative rarity in laboratory settings, though, marsupials had eluded the CRISPR rush—until now. A team of researchers at Japan’s Riken Institute,…

  • Disability rights advocates are worried about discrimination in AI hiring tools
    by Sheridan Wall, Hilke Schellmann on July 21, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Your ability to land your next job could depend on how well you play one of the AI-powered games that companies like AstraZeneca and Postmates are increasingly using in the hiring process. Some companies that create these games, like Pymetrics and Arctic Shores, claim that they limit bias in hiring. But AI hiring games can…

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