CNET: Google Assistant can set times for controlling internet-connected devices

CNET: Google Assistant can set times for controlling internet-connected devices. “Smart assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have been able to handle home automation tasks for years. In a new update, however, it now looks like at least Google’s virtual helper has recently been learning a new trick.”

Batterygate: Apple to pay $113 million for throttling iPhone performance (BetaNews)

BetaNews: Batterygate: Apple to pay $113 million for throttling iPhone performance. “Starting back in 2016, Apple used updates to iOS to throttle the performance of older iPhones in a bid to improve battery life. While the company’s intensions may have been good, the fact that customers were not warned about the reduction in performance did not work in its favor.”

BetaNews: Pandemic leads to increased focus on e-waste

BetaNews: Pandemic leads to increased focus on e-waste. “The shift in working patterns prompted by COVID-19 has caused unnecessary short-term investment in technology, which will leave companies at risk with data being stored on a wide range of devices. This is according to 78 percent of respondents to a new survey from data erasure specialist Blancco Technology Group, which also reveals 47 percent of large global enterprises have created roles responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with e-waste policies specifically to deal with issues generated from the pandemic.”

CNN: Ring recalls 350,000 smart doorbells after some of them caught fire

CNN: Ring recalls 350,000 smart doorbells after some of them caught fire. “The potential fire hazard impacts around 350,000 2nd generation Ring doorbells sold in the United States and roughly 8,700 more sold in Canada, according to a notice posted by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Tuesday. The $100 doorbells were sold on Ring’s website and on Amazon (AMZN) between June 2020 and October 2020, according to the CPSC.”

IEEE Spectrum: This Startup Spots Stress in Real-Time to Help Prevent Depression and Other Conditions

IEEE Spectrum: This Startup Spots Stress in Real-Time to Help Prevent Depression and Other Conditions. “What if there was a way to measure in real time when a person was becoming stressed, so the condition could be managed immediately using evidence-based methods? That’s the idea behind Philia Labs, a startup in Melbourne, Australia, that has developed a platform with a wearable device designed to measure physiological stress indicators. The product is aimed at health care providers and mental health professionals, as well as people who want to monitor their own stress level.”

BetaNews: Apple acknowledges issues with AirPods Pro and offers free replacements

BetaNews: Apple acknowledges issues with AirPods Pro and offers free replacements. “Apple has launched a new service program for AirPods Pro after identifying a series of sound issues with the earphones. The service program means that people experiencing problems with crackling or static are eligible for free replacements. The program also covers issues with Active Noise Cancellation, which could mean that bass is too low or background noise is louder than it should be.”

CNET: UVC wands kill viruses. Experts warn they’re also a ‘major safety issue’

CNET: UVC wands kill viruses. Experts warn they’re also a ‘major safety issue’. “Devices like those are nothing new, but the pandemic-borne surge of interest in them is raising alarms, because UVC light is a known carcinogen, and even a few moments of direct exposure can be hazardous to the eyes and skin. Now, as research into UVC and the coronavirus continues, regulators, industry leaders and safety science professionals are urging caution.”

The Guardian: ‘Smart’ male chastity device can be controlled by hackers, users warned

The Guardian: ‘Smart’ male chastity device can be controlled by hackers, users warned. “The maker of a ‘smart’ male chastity device has recommended using a screwdriver to break it open after warnings it can be locked remotely by hackers. The Bluetooth-controlled Cellmate device can only be unlocked via an app. Its manufacturer, the Chinese company Qiui, issued a video titled ‘When nothing else works’, showing the screwdriver fix.”

CNN: Your old iPhone is worth big bucks. Here’s why

I’m sticking with my iPhone 7, but if you’re looking to upgrade your phone, check this out from CNN: Your old iPhone is worth big bucks. Here’s why. “Apple this week widened the price range for its flagship smartphones, announcing the iPhone 12 mini at $699 for users who balk at spending over $1,000 for more premium models. But for people who want to spend even less — in one case, absolutely nothing — to upgrade, Apple (AAPL) and major wireless carriers are doling out big discounts to those trading in their old devices.”

CNET: Your phone may help you fight off deepfakes before they’re even made

CNET: Your phone may help you fight off deepfakes before they’re even made. “Truepic, a San Diego startup, says it’s found a way to prevent deepfakes and doctored images before they can even show up online: by verifying the authenticity of videos and images at the time they’re captured. Now the company is working to put the technology, which it calls Truepic Foresight, in millions of smartphones around the globe by having it embedded it in the Qualcomm processors that power the majority of the world’s Android phones.”

BetaNews: Microsoft releases KB4583263 update for Windows 10 to prevent swollen laptop batteries

BetaNews: Microsoft releases KB4583263 update for Windows 10 to prevent swollen laptop batteries. “Microsoft has teamed up with HP to work on a fix for a problem affecting various HP Business Notebooks. The flaw not only causes a reduction in performance and battery life, but can also lead to swollen batteries. The problem lies with the HP Battery Health Manager, and the update from Microsoft and HP is rolling out to enable a new charging algorithm to help alleviate the issue.”

Borodutch: Build your own perpetual autonomous database backup machine from a Raspberry Pi for $10 and never pay for backups again

Borodutch: Build your own perpetual autonomous database backup machine from a Raspberry Pi for $10 and never pay for backups again. “Hello everybody! So I wrote a post on how to setup free backups for MongoDB. But then I thought that it was a bit too much equipment: you needed a USB thumb drive and an old laptop. And it hit me: I could do the same thing on a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W if I just upload my backups to Google Drive directly!”

The Verge: Google’s Nest announces new smart thermostat with simpler design, lower price

The Verge: Google’s Nest announces new smart thermostat with simpler design, lower price. “Google’s Nest smart home division has a new smart thermostat available to order starting today. The new Nest Thermostat is a simpler model than the Nest Learning Thermostat or Nest Thermostat E and comes with a lower price, just $129.99.”

Raspberry Pi 4 as Desktop Computer: Is It Really Viable? (Make Tech Easier)

Make Tech Easier: Raspberry Pi 4 as Desktop Computer: Is It Really Viable?. “There’s little doubt that the Raspberry Pi 4 is significantly more powerful than its predecessors. Its based on the faster ARM Cortex-A72 microarchitecture and has four cores pegged at marginally-higher clock speeds. The graphics subsystem is significantly beefed up as well, running at twice the maximum stock clocks as the outgoing model. Everything about it makes it a viable desktop replacement. But is it really good enough to replace your trusty old desktop? I spent three weeks with the 8GB version of the Pi 4 to answer that million-dollar question.” Solid, deep dive. Recommended for Pi fans.