opinion

CNN, Fox, other news networks still think we’re all technology idiots

CNN, Fox, other news networks still think we’re all technology idiots

While the endless filler and sometimes mind-numbing commentary that comes with 24-hour news networks provide plenty of subject matter worthy of eye-rolling criticism, it's hard to find any subject that is approached with a deeper level of maddening condescension and downright idiocy than when a breaking technology-related story unfolds. Watching CNN and others last Wednesday was just the latest example in this continuously absurd area of mainstream journalism.

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Amazon Prime Day delivers the worst of Black Friday

Amazon Prime Day delivers the worst of Black Friday

Perhaps we should've expected Amazon Prime Day to be a monstrous disappointment. When you model your huge, one-day-only sale on Black Friday, after all, you're probably going to experience the same instantly-evaporating deals and masses of unlovable clearance items. Sure enough, though there have been some impressive bargains to be had, there are more people vocally annoyed than crowing about their purchases.

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Amazon Echo’s weirdest talent is making you feel heard

Amazon Echo’s weirdest talent is making you feel heard

Amazon’s Echo is a lot of things - shopping companion, music player, portal to Wikipedia - but its most surprising feature says more about human comfort with next-gen electronics. Echo’s cleverness is in the cloud; the black column of its local hardware is really just a gateway to that remote functionality. Yet it also has to satisfy a few core requirements, such as demonstrating attentiveness. The solution Amazon came up with is both simple and elegant.

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As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

Apple’s WWDC is over for another year, and as the dust settles on the iOS 9, Apple Music, and OS X El Capitan launch, it’s a chance to reflect on five days of sessions. It’s hard to gauge the tone of a week-long developer event from a fast-paced keynote - even with an Apple Music section which went on too long, and which several developers I spoke to suspected was padded to fill up space originally intended for an Apple TV SDK announcement. If there can be such a thing as an overarching theme, though, it felt like it might be harmonious co-existence.

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Wearables and Fitness – Is it a permanent union?

Wearables and Fitness – Is it a permanent union?

We see wearables on the rise. But when we says "wearables", we mostly mean smartwatches and, more often and more ubiquitous, fitness bands. While the term "wearable" itself seems to cover a whole swathe of products, why is it that most, if not all, wearables in the market are those that we can only wear on our wrists? And why are almost all of them, even those that we don't wear on our wrists, seem to be focused, if not totally dedicated to fitness and health? Are wearables fated to be tethered to this particular use case?

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Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

"Developers! Developers! Developers!" That chant might trigger nightmares of a rather sweaty Ballmer, but what was true almost a decade ago is now even more critical for Microsoft's success. Yes, success, not just survival. There is little doubt Microsoft could live on for a few more years on life support should Windows 10 flop, but if the next operating system is to become the success that Windows 8 was not, it needs to have more apps. Not just any app, clones or fakes, but the kind of apps that make iOS and Android users go nuts. And to get those apps, Microsoft will obviously need developers, developers, developers.

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I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you

I told my grandmother about Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving F 015 concept the other week, and she was horrified. “However could you trust it to drive you safely?” she wanted to know, perhaps thinking of how her DVR regularly and unpredictably dumps her favorite recordings and extrapolating that to a crazed silvery space-pod crashing and taking her grandson with it. In fact, I told her, I trust autonomous vehicles far more than I do my fellow human drivers, and recent news of self-driving car crashes in California has done nothing to change that.

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The big Apple Watch surprise is how little you use it

The big Apple Watch surprise is how little you use it

For all the furore around the Apple Watch launch, not to mention the number of people still waiting for their pre-orders, it’s a surprise just how low-key the smartwatch itself is. Of course, there’s the excitement of opening the box, strapping it to your wrist, and setting it up with your favorite apps and notifications, but after that the wearable works best if you simply... wear it.

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Living with the new MacBook Retina

Living with the new MacBook Retina

There’s an unusual degree of forthrightness - sometimes bordering on vitriol - in how outspoken people are about the new MacBook Retina. It’s something you see occasionally with high-profile, edge-pushing devices: not just dissent as to whether it’s a good product to buy or not, but a sort of slightly-frothy aggression in aiming to convince you that you’ve made the wrong decision.

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Windows 8: what Microsoft did right and what went wrong

Windows 8: what Microsoft did right and what went wrong

Windows 10 is coming really soon. If AMD is to be believed, that is happening around July. Given this upcoming version of Windows is set to fix a number of complaints about Windows 8, it's release will surely call to mind some its predecessor's shortcomings. But for all the warts that Windows 8 had, it wasn't completely a failure in all aspects and even laid the foundations of many features and mindsets still present in Windows 10 and elsewhere. Here we take a look at 5 of the things Windows 8 could have gotten right and also how they failed to reach the mark.

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Apple Watch success isn’t sales, it’s stickiness

Apple Watch success isn’t sales, it’s stickiness

Apple isn't saying how many Apple Watches it sold in the first weekend of preorders, but arguably the bigger question is how many will still be wrapped around wrists a few months after. Unofficial estimates of sales have suggested as many as a million of the iOS wearables have been earmarked for eager owners, pushing shipping estimates into the summer at the earliest, and for many it was a case of buy first, try second since preorders opened before store demo displays did.

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