Science & Technology



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Activision Blizzard employees walk out, demand reforms in wake of discrimination suit

Employees at Activision Blizzard walked off the job Wednesday to protest the company’s response to an explosive lawsuit filed last week alleging pervasive discrimination and harassment against women.

The suit, filed against the company by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, largely focuses on the Blizzard division of the...Read more

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AI deepfakes of Anthony Bourdain's voice are only a taste of what's coming

The most important thing about a documentary deepfaking Anthony Bourdain's voice isn't that it happened, but that it happened and almost nobody noticed.

Director Morgan Neville faced skepticism and outright revulsion on social media this month when it was revealed he used artificial intelligence to create a model of Bourdain's voice for 45 ...Read more

Sam Hodgson/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Competition for tech talent is fierce. Is the trend temporary?

The pandemic, which forced businesses to switch to online everything, appears to have amplified demand for technology workers.

Last month, employers posted more than 365,000 job openings for IT positions, with software developers, IT support specialists, systems engineers and architects among the most coveted workers by employers.

There is so ...Read more


Researchers probing how magnets may disable medical devices

Researchers and regulators are working quickly to learn more about potentially dangerous interactions between implanted medical devices and an ever-widening array of consumer gadgets that contain powerful magnets.

The concern follows research published earlier this year that found an iPhone 12 temporarily deactivated a defibrillator when held ...Read more

Tech Q&A: The cheapest way to build a small home music library

Q: I'm interested in downloading about 200 songs from the internet, and eventually putting them on a USB drive. What's the cheapest way to do that?

—Fritz Monica, Minneapolis

A: The cheapest method is to purchase the songs rather than subscribe to an online streaming music service, even though the up-front cash outlay will be greater.

...Read more


Tech giants' record quarter gives way to growth skepticism

Three of the world’s largest companies — Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc. — reported about $57 billion in combined profit in a record-busting quarter, riding a resurgence in consumer and business spending.

Yet markets responded coolly. In part, investors were skeptical that these companies can continue to post double-digit ...Read more


Massive internet outage affects major US websites, including Airbnb, Delta, Daily News

The websites of several major U.S. companies were temporarily down for many users Thursday in a widespread internet outage.

The list of companies affected by the outage included Airbnb, Delta Air Lines, Groupon and Salesforce. Delta acknowledged having “a technology issue” that was “impacting many global websites.”

Users also reported ...Read more

Tripwire Interactive/TNS

‘Maneater: Truth Quest’ DLC pack adds more shark action on Aug. 31

2020’s hit action RPG will continue the story of an unstoppable bull shark

Sharks never stop moving. They constantly advance forward to live. And it looks like the developers Tripwire Interactive aren’t resting on their laurels either. More than a year after the team released “Maneater,” the studio is coming out with downloadable ...Read more


Jim Rossman: When is it OK to share your passcode?

If you’re incapacitated or die, someone needs to know how to get into your phone and other devices.

Today’s tech issue comes from my family, and I want to mention it so it doesn’t happen to you.

My Aunt Sharon became ill and was hospitalized back in January 2020.

She never married, so several of her nieces and nephews began helping ...Read more

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‘The cultural loss is staggering’: Illinois man’s YouTube channel aims to preserve Chicago TV shows and commercials before they vanish

CHICAGO — Rick Klein’s obsession began when he was a teen. He came across an overlooked videocassette in his family’s Cicero, Illinois home, stuck it into the VCR and found a 1983 episode of “The Bozo Show” in which he and his brother were in the audience.

But it wasn’t just the antics of the famous Chicago entertainer that ...Read more

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This Chicago TikTok star built his following on videos about millennial work-from-home culture. And now — like many others — he quit his job.

CHICAGO — The first time Rod Thill downloaded TikTok, he deleted it. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, when he, and millions of others, picked up the video-sharing social media app and never put it down again.

More than a year later, the Pilsen resident has acquired over 1 million followers on his account under the handle @Rod, ...Read more


Gadgets: Thermapen One cooking thermometer impossible to beat

It’s hard to say the Thermapen One is truly the world’s fastest cooking thermometer, which the company describes as being as fast as the speed of thought. But after the instant reads, I’d say it’s impossible to beat.

The Thermapen measures 6.1-by-1.7-by-0.74 inches, weighs 0.25 pounds and is powered by a single included AAA battery, ...Read more

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CNET: Best phones under $200: Our favorite budget phones that deliver a lot for the money

If you need a reliable phone that's $200 or cheaper, CNET has a few tips for you.

Here we offer a few budget phone options available at very wallet-friendly prices. Some of these choices have been fully reviewed by CNET editors, while others are ones we hope to get our hands on soon. Note that we've linked to the unlocked version of each ...Read more

Brian Contreras/Los Angeles Times/TNS

No more invites. No more wait lists. Exclusive Clubhouse app goes public

Clubhouse, the popular audio-streaming app accessible only by invitation, just got a lot more inviting.

Clubhouse announced Wednesday that it is ditching its signature invite-only structure in favor of a more open model, which will allow anyone to join a public livestream at any time — no wait list required.

Likewise, anyone who wants to ...Read more

Duane Braley/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

Tech Q&A: Creating a second Chrome profile is like starting over

Q: I created a new profile in the Google Chrome browser that's separate from the main profile, which is my wife's. But now when I use the browser, all of my bookmarks are gone. I tried to export the bookmarks from my wife's profile, but it didn't work. How can I get my old bookmarks into my new browser profile, or just delete my new profile?

�...Read more

Ford, Argo AI team with Lyft to launch self-driving robotaxi service in Miami, Austin

Ford Motor Co. and Argo AI will launch a limited robotaxi service on ride-sharing company Lyft's platform beginning later this year, the companies announced Wednesday.

The initial deployment of the service in two cities — Miami later this year, and Austin next year — marks a significant step on Ford's path to launching a commercial ...Read more

Austin American-Statesman/Austin American-Statesman/TNS

SolarWinds spins off business unit into new company, N-able

Austin-based software maker SolarWinds has spun off its managed service provider business into a separate company called N-able.

SolarWinds makes network and IT management software. The company, which was founded in 1999 in Tulsa before moving to Austin in 2006, serves a range of industries including big-name companies and government entities. ...Read more


Qualcomm beefs up artificial intelligence team with purchase of Twenty Billion Neurons

Qualcomm said Monday that it recently acquired the assets of Twenty Billion Neurons, a Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence/computer vision startup that develops avatars that can see and interact with people in a human-like way.

The San Diego mobile technology company declined to say how much it paid for TwentyBN, which has locations in ...Read more

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Startup investment poised to break records in 2021, report says

Venture capital is continuing its surge in the Pacific Northwest, as startup investment across the United States is on track to shatter records, according to a new report released this week.

The spike is driven by a rise in late-stage investment, and particularly deals that exceed $100 million, said the report produced by PitchBook, a Seattle-...Read more

The Philadelphia Inquirer/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Choreographer Brian Sanders turns pandemic lockdown into a live-action video game

During the height of the pandemic, choreographer Brian Sanders had shows canceled and unexpected chunks of time on his hands. He spent much of it playing video games.

But all the gaming gave way to productive work: a new show for his company, JUNK, called "Dragonbutter."

“So much of my year-and-a-half was spent on the sofa with these, what...Read more