Tech Sightings, July 10, 2014

Posted July 10th, 2014 at 2:25 pm (UTC+0)
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How a Paralyzed Man Moved His Fingers With His Mind

Ian Burkhart, paralyzed from the elbows down since he broke his neck four years ago when diving into deceptively shallow water, was told that he would never use his arms again. But just last month, he moved his right hand just by thinking about it – thanks to a chip implanted in his head that transfers brain waves.

Access to Google Services Within China Returns

After a month-long disruption, users in China are now able to access Google’s online services again. Features such as maps, search and email were blocked as Chinese observed the 25th anniversary of Beijing’s bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

Apple Targets Rising Water Use, Production Partners’ Emissions

After last year’s criticism of Apple’s greenhouse gas emissions and use of toxic materials, the company announced that it has cut back sharply on emissions, but that it still needs to address its rising water consumption and its manufacturing partners’ carbon emissions.

BBC is launching a Facebook News Station to Beat Thailand’s Military Censorship

In an effort to skirt Thailand’s military censorship, the BBC, which was temporarily taken off the air in May, has turned to Facebook with a plan to launch a “pop up” news service that offers international news in English and Thai.

The New Plague: Computer Viruses That Extort You

Antivirus maker Bitfinder reports that the FBI’s recent seizure of massive ransomeware operation  Cryptolocker that used highjacked computers to spread a virus, might have only succeeded in stopping its delivery system. The company argues that Cryptolocker is alive and well, waiting for an opportunity to find a new delivery mechanism.

How Microsoft’s Support Lifecycles Affect You and Your Business

All Microsoft products, including Windows operating systems, have a support lifestyle that eventually winds down, meaning that the company will stop supporting them. Whether you are using these products for business or at home, their support deadlines are coming up January 13 – a nudge for users to upgrade to the next version.

Cortana Predicts Winner of Sunday’s World Cup Final

Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana has accumulated a decent record predicting the winning teams in Brazil’s World Cup games, recently predicting Germany’s crushing victory over Brazil. Its latest prediction focuses on Sunday’s decisive game between Germany and Argentina.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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