Science & Technology




Jim Rossman: Trying to watch Netflix in your RV? Streaming on the road can be tricky — and expensive

A reader writes, "I could scream! We are full time RVers. We have a Dish satellite account for standard TV watching. I have an iPad on which I subscribe to BritBox, Disney+ and PBS Passport.

"My internet comes from a Verizon jet pack (cellular hot spot).

"My problem? Limited fast data to use for streaming.

"Since Verizon sets a limit, and ...Read more


Preview: 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla' shows violent and merry sides to Viking life

When Ubisoft revealed "Assassin's Creed Valhalla," the publisher presented two visions of Vikings. One showed the common perception of bloodthirsty marauders plundering towns and killing villagers. The other image showed a caring people, one that raises children and practices rituals to the Nordic gods.

The trailer shows that there's more to ...Read more


Preview: 'Watch Dogs: Legion' surprisingly has a bit of 'Pokemon' in it

At first blush, I hated the concept of "Watch Dogs: Legion." Everything about an open-world hacking game where players could recruit anyone seemed wrong. It would be devoid of a main character. All the operatives would be disposable. Ubisoft's vision of London seemed like a predictable dystopian mess.

I assumed the developers just ran out of ...Read more


'TikTok seems too good to be true.' Internet experts say there are reasons for users to worry

TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, has come under fire by the Trump administration several weeks after people used the app to flood Trump's Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally with fake registrations in a mass prank. The administration is now considering a ban of the app due to security risks - a claim experts say is valid.

"Like a lot of other social...Read more


CNET: Best cheap gaming laptops under $1,000

Trying to find a good deal on a gaming laptop isn't easy right now with the increased demand for inexpensive laptops for working from home during coronavirus closures. They're out there still, you'll just have to look harder and act faster. You might also consider refurbished or open-box gaming laptops from Best Buy, Micro Center, Woot and ...Read more


Gadgets: A security camera with everything you want

Often I read about new security cameras and they seem to have one or two really cool features. Recently, I saw that had Hoop rolled out the Hoop Cam and Hoop Cam Plus, and they seemed to have everything I wanted.

Specifically, high quality video, face recognition, a companion application for both iOS and Android, custom profiles, GeoFencing (...Read more

222 LA tech companies pledged to improve on diversity. Have they made any progress?

Two years ago, a number of L.A.'s leading tech investors gathered for a swanky party to launch a program called PledgeLA. Its purpose: to change the mostly white, mostly male face of the tech industry in Southern California.

With support from the mayor's office and the deep pockets and local connections of the Annenberg Foundation, PledgeLA has...Read more

Microsoft jettisons dozens of full-time MSN jobs in favor of artificial intelligence

Microsoft this week cut dozens of full-time staffers from its MSN news service, many of them in senior positions, in a move further away from human editors and toward using artificial intelligence to curate stories.

The move comes six weeks after the Redmond, Wash.-based technology giant told about 50 news production contractors they would not ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Reducing smartphone photo quality to save space

Q: The photos taken with smartphones take up a lot of memory space. I'd like to reduce the size of my photos from several megabytes to a little less than one megabyte, a size I've found adequate for viewing on a computer, attaching to e-mails or printing 4-by-6-inch photos. But the camera settings on phones don't begin to make images that small....Read more

4-foot prehistoric-looking bird seen at Outer Banks lighthouse is on wrong coast, experts say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Strange things often wash up on North Carolina's Outer Banks, and the National Park Service says the latest example is a big, prehistoric-looking bird that is far outside its natural range.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore says a sandhill crane has been seen roaming the grounds of Bodie Island Lighthouse.

"These birds migrate...Read more

In debate over reopening schools, science offers few clear answers

As fall approaches in the U.S. and school districts debate whether to resume in-person classes, the issue is complicated by a dearth of knowledge about how COVID-19 is transmitted to and from children.

Other nations have sent children back to school -- or never shuttered schools to begin with -- but none has done so with the virus surging as it...Read more

Chance of big San Andreas earthquake increased by Ridgecrest temblors, study suggests

A new study suggests that last year's Ridgecrest earthquakes increased the chance of a large earthquake on California's San Andreas fault.

The study, published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday, says there is now a 2.3% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 12 months on a section of the ...Read more

Amazon says email telling workers to delete TikTok app was sent in error

Hours after sending an email instructing employees to remove the social media app TikTok from their phones, citing unspecified "security risks," Inc. said Friday the message was sent in error.

The curious sequence of events came days after the White House amped up messaging that casts the popular Chinese-owned service as a potential ...Read more

Tech Q&A: Windows 10 updates are creating new problems

One of the big differences between Windows 10 and its predecessors is that it's updated frequently. That may fix flaws, but it also creates new ones.

Last week, Anita Winkley of Winter Haven, Fla., told me she was losing Gmail messages and their attached photos. We both wondered if her e-mail filter settings were to blame.

But it turns out ...Read more

Under Armour reportedly looks to sell fitness app MyFitnessPal

BALTIMORE -- Under Armour may be looking to shed MyFitnessPal, its fitness and nutrition app and website, as it scales back during a slowdown made worse by coronavirus-related revenue losses.

A potential sale of the app was reported Tuesday by The Information, a business technology news website. The athletic apparel brand has not confirmed the ...Read more

Fintech company Sezzle's growth rockets higher as online shopping soars

Sezzle Inc., the Minneapolis fintech firm that's listed in Australia, said Tuesday its e-commerce platform soared in transaction volume and revenue during the spring months as homebound consumers shopped online more often.

Sezzle's shares jumped 25% on the news, closing at Aus$5.07, the highest level since the company went public on the ...Read more


Jim Rossman: Free streaming content is getting harder to find

A reader wrote me recently about trying to navigate the free TV streaming jungle.

He has a Roku for streaming content with a login for PBS' Passport streaming service provided through his contributions to PBS.

He'd like to explore other shows and networks, noting that many of them tout "streaming the following day."

He tried to watch the CW...Read more

Joni Hanebutt/Dreamstime/TNS

Police partnerships with Amazon Ring raise alarms about racial bias, privacy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As nationwide protests force a deep examination of police tactics and funding, technology companies say they are re-evaluating their relationship with law enforcement as well. Amazon has halted police use of its facial recognition technology for one year and the website Nextdoor has stopped forwarding tips to police.

Now,...Read more


'Pokemon Go': Gastly Community Day added to packed July schedule

Niantic is adding to an already packed July schedule with Gastly Community Day that is being held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 19.

Although the shiny version of the Gas Pokemon has been around a while, it has been relatively rare for players. With the Community Day, they have a chance to get one of the best-looking shiny Pokemon in the game. ...Read more


CNET: Best gas grills of 2020

If you're new to outdoor cooking or just need to replace an old grill, the abundance of options out there can make picking the best grill feel overwhelming - it's hard to know whether to go for a gas grill (fueled by propane or natural gas), kamado grill, charcoal grill, pellet grill or perhaps a portable model.

Gas grills are a great place ...Read more