Expert: Current Smartphone Design Not Sustainable

Posted March 17th, 2017 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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FILE - Old cellular phone components are discarded inside a workshop in the township of Guiyu in China's southern Guangdong province June 10, 2015. (Reuters)

FILE – Old cellular phone components are discarded inside a workshop in the township of Guiyu in China’s southern Guangdong province, June 10, 2015. (Reuters)

More than two billion smartphones are in use around the world and the numbers are growing. So are the mountains of hazardous e-waste our tech addictions are fueling. But a leading expert believes changing the way smartphones are designed could help address the e-waste problem.

A lot of people hold on to their smartphones until they break. Many, particularly iPhone users, seek out the latest and greatest iterations every two years. Their old smartphones, loaded with toxic metals, are dumped, donated, recycled or smelted. Whatever their fate, hazardous e-waste is piling up.

Between 2010 and 2015, e-waste increased 63 percent, according to the United Nations University. China tops the pile for that period with a 107 percent increase in e-waste and recycling systems that are a work in progress.

The problem is by design, said Ted Smith, Coordinator of the International Campaign for Responsible Technology. Smartphone components are not built from the start to be easily replaceable or recyclable. And manufacturers don’t think about e-waste when they flood the markets with billions and billions of smartphones.

It is a profitable “business model,” he argued, “where they really want to sell everybody a new phone every 18 months or two years.”

Some people fall for it, although most can do fine with what they’ve got if the battery holds up.” But leading manufacturers like Apple, for example, make it particularly “difficult” for users to “even open up their phones to repair them,” he said in an interview. “They fasten their batteries in to make it almost impossible to change” them.

With more than one billion iPhones in circulation, Apple, one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers, has taken steps to mitigate environmental damage. The company has not responded to Techtonics’ requests for comment. But just last year, it introduced a recycling robot to take apart its iPhones so that their components can be reused. Those include rare earth metals that make up screen colors, allow smartphones to vibrate, and give them other features that actually make them “smart.”

Samsung, a major smartphone manufacturer, said in an email it has “robust recycling programs” in place that encourage customers to participate in “appropriate disposal of e-waste.”  The company also said it incorporates the philosophy of reducing environmental impact “into the creation of all of our products – from their packaging to their materials to their design.”

At the start of product development, we use a proprietary Eco-design Criteria and Evaluation process to analyze and enhance the product’s potential recyclability and resource efficiency, and to try to restrict the use of potentially hazardous substances – Samsung

More recently, Samsung has been under pressure to recycle 4.3 million faulty Galaxy Note 7 smartphones it recalled in 2016 to avoid an environmental disaster. But in a follow-up email, Samsung said it has “prioritized a safe and environmentally friendly process for disposing of Galaxy Note7 devices” and that it is committed “to ensure a responsible disposal plan for our devices.”

Improper recycling can be hazardous, particularly in developing countries where children often rummage for parts to sell. And if the phone is smelted, the metals are lost, but the resulting fumes are also toxic.

In some cases, the e-waste is shipped to developing countries from the United States, where proper recycling can be expensive. “And since there are no rules against it, then that’s what’s happening,” said Smith, co-author of a 2002 study called Exporting Harm.

FILE - A polluted river flows past a workshop that is used for recycling electronic waste in the township of Guiyu in China's southern Guangdong province June 10, 2015. (Reuters)

FILE – A polluted river flows past a workshop that is used for recycling electronic waste in the township of Guiyu in China’s southern Guangdong province June 10, 2015. (Reuters)

Shipping e-waste to China, which also produces its own e-waste, and other parts of the world causes a lot of harm. Oftentimes, China’s recycling process entails “burning things, just tearing things apart and throwing things in a water body,” said Smith. “The children are getting sick. That’s not a good way to advance economic development.”

It is also happening in other parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. “It’s a huge problem,” he added. “And the U.S is the only advanced country in the world that has refused to sign on to the Basel convention, which is designed to try to prevent the shipment of toxic waste from rich countries to poor countries. So the U.S. has all the brands that make all these new gadgets, but it’s also the real global culprit in not doing its part to try to solve the problem.”

The preferred way to deal with discarded phones is to reuse them, said Smith, even though their lifecycle is only around four years.

“There is a tremendous reuse market,” he added. “And there’s much more value in reusing the phone than recycling it. There’s some value in recycling it, but not very much. There’s a little bit of precious metals in a phone that has some value, but a lot of it is really not very valuable.”

But he believes the real answer to the e-waste problem begins with manufacturers. “It starts with making the devices less hazardous to begin with,” he said, by investing in green chemistry and using fewer hazardous materials. This in turn will “help drive the whole smartphone lifecycle.”

“It helps in the production so the workers themselves are exposed to less hazardous material,” he said. “It helps in the use so the consumers are exposed to less hazardous material. And it certainly helps with end-of-life, where if you burn the product as they’re doing so much, you won’t be creating the kinds of toxic fumes that are going on right now. So I think the green chemistry solution is the best approach from a lifecycle perspective.”

The only problem, he cautioned, is that smartphone manufacturers are making huge profits on disposable gadgets. “So until people figure this out and come together and say ‘enough is enough’, we’re going to continue to see this happening.”

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.

How Yahoo Was Hacked; Android 7.1.1 Nougat for Nexus 6 Downgraded

Posted March 16th, 2017 at 12:18 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

This wanted poster provided by the FBI shows Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka “Magg,” 29, a Russian national and resident charged Wednesday, March 15, 2017, of breaching Yahoo.

This wanted poster provided by the FBI shows Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, aka “Magg,” 29, a citizen and resident of Russia charged Wednesday, March 15, 2017, with breaching Yahoo.

Who the Russian Hackers Targeted When They Stole Yahoo Emails

Russian spies and cybercriminals charged for allegedly hacking into more than 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014 targeted diplomats, executives and an investigative reporter, according to U.S. Department of Justice documents. They also searched millions of accounts for credit cards, financial information and login credentials.  It is still unclear how they breached Yahoo in the first place to carry out their plans. However, the Kremlin denied any official involvement.

Google Downgrades Nexus 6 From Android 7.1.1 Nougat to Android 7.0

The Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for Nexus 6 devices was rolled out in early March and later paused because of security concerns. Now, Google has confirmed it is rolling back the update and restoring the older Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. There are also reports of continuing crashes as a result of the downgrade.

Experts: Psychopathic CEOs Rife in Silicon Valley

A panel of experts at South by Southwest festival in Texas argues that Silicon Valley has a large number of “psychopathic CEOs.” The term typically has negative connotations, but according to the panel, true psychopaths have a blend of deficits but hide them well, coming across as charming. Clinical psychologist Michael Woodworth said these individuals often lack remorse and empathy.

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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.

Asia Takes Brunt of 2016 Hacks; High-profile Twitter Accounts Hijacked

Posted March 15th, 2017 at 12:53 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A researcher of Hauri, an IT security software company investigating computer viruses, works at one of the company's labs in Seoul, South Korea. (Reuters)

FILE – A researcher of Hauri, an IT security software firm investigating computer viruses, works at one of the company’s labs in Seoul, South Korea. (Reuters)

APAC Bore Brunt of Cyberattacks in 2016

The Asia-Pacific region took the lion’s share of cyberattacks in 2016, according to security firm Trend Micro. The region attracted three times more malware infections than North America and six times more than of Latin America.  APAC experienced up to 500,000 unknown threats each day, and 27 percent of ransomware attacks targeted Asia-Pacific individuals and companies, compared with 22 percent in Latin America.

Millions of Records Leaked From Huge US Corporate Database

A database containing about 33.7 million email addresses and contact data for thousands of U.S. corporations and their employees has been leaked. Security expert Troy Hunt obtained the documents and analyzed them. The database, owned by business services giant Dun & Bradstreet, contains more than 100,000 Defense Department records. It is unclear how the data was exposed.

Hackers Hijack Twitter Accounts Over Turkish Diplomatic Feud

Hackers broadcasting pro-Turkish messages in Turkey’s feud with Germany and the Netherlands hijacked a number of Twitter accounts, including UNICEF, Amnesty International and others. Twitter said a third-party analytics app, Twitter Counter, was exploited to hack the accounts. Access to the service has since been blocked. Twitter Counter is investigating the incident. If you want to know how to protect your Twitter account, writer Tom Warren has a few tips.

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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.

Millions of Twitter Accounts Are Bots; Looking to Musk to Fix the World

Posted March 14th, 2017 at 9:38 am (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings

FILE - A picture illustration shows a 3-D-printed Twitter logo through broken glass. (Reuters)

FILE – A picture illustration shows a 3-D-printed Twitter logo through broken glass. (Reuters)

Study: Up to 48 Million Twitter Accounts Are Bots

Twitter, according to a joint study released by the University of Southern California and Indiana University, has more than 48 million bot accounts – and some of them could be among your followers.  Twitter has about 319 million active monthly users. The study found that between 9 and 15 percent of those are bots. Writer Dan Tynan offers some tips to help you identify Twitter bots.

Tech Giants Join Google to Fight Order to Hand Over Foreign Emails

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Cisco have all come to Google’s aid after a Pennsylvania court ordered it to hand over emails stored overseas to the FBI. In an amicus brief, the tech firms argued that the FBI warrant seeking emails stored abroad is an invasion of privacy outside the borders of the United States and invites other countries to do the same. Google had vowed it would fight the order. It’s not clear what type of data the court order requires.

Musk’s Pledge to Fix South Australia’s Energy Issues Attracts Other Countries

A few days ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged to solve South Australia’s energy crisis within 100 days or he will do it for free. Storms have left the Australian state with severe outages and its power companies scrambling to meet demand. To address the issue, Tesla would install a 100 megawatt battery storage system. Soon after the pledge was made, other interested parties in Ukraine, New Zealand and other countries contacted Musk for more details.

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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.

Mobile Tech Key to Migrant Health Care Solutions

Posted March 10th, 2017 at 11:33 am (UTC-5)
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Aid workers on the ground can use a digital portal to design appropriate medication labels and add the migrant languages they are working with to the system. The labels are attached to aid packs and can be scanned with a mobile phone for more information online. (Frontend/IOM)

Aid workers on the ground can use a digital portal to design appropriate medication labels and add the migrant languages they are working with to the system. The labels are attached to aid packs and can be scanned with a mobile phone for more information online. (Frontend/IOM)

More than 65 million people around the world are displaced and on the move with no access to health care. But mobile technology will soon change that, thanks to a partnership between design consultancy Frontend and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

When migrants and refugees fleeing their hometowns arrive at an emergency center or refugee camp, they typically receive health care, treatment and medications, among other assistance from aid groups. Once they leave to go back home or to other countries, they lose access to that care and any information surrounding it.

That is one of IOM’s key challenges – the mobility of health care and health care data. And it raises a lot of questions and difficulties for Frontend User Experience (UX) designer John Buckley. For him, it means aid groups will need to “change their practices to meet the reality on the ground” and take the service to end-users, wherever they are.

“Often times, displaced people were arriving at aid camps, receiving treatment and getting tested for various diseases and conditions, but moving on from the camp before the test results returned,” he said in an interview. “The aid agencies then have no way of relaying that information to the migrants or to the countries they were traveling to.”

But the prevalence of mobile devices among migrant populations offers aid organizations an opportunity to provide them with the same level of services they offer in emergency camps in Greece or Turkey, for example.

With help from students from various design colleges around the world and input from refugees and aid groups on the ground, the Irish firm and IOM came up with a new concept for a health care system that would address the challenge.

One such solution is an Electronic Health Record system that would allow migrants to get tested at the camps in Greece or Turkey and then use an app to access the results at a later date through their mobile phones, wherever they happen to be.

The idea is that the migrant, not a health system, “owned and had access to that information,” said Buckley. At the same time, the results are “translatable” so that “healthcare professionals in whichever jurisdiction could interpret the results for the patient.”

Part of the Future Bision of Migrant Health care is Remote Doctor Consulting, which will give more vulnerable migrants access to health care. (Frontend/IOM)

Part of the Future Vision of Migrant Health care is Remote Doctor Consulting, which will give more vulnerable migrants access to health care. (Frontend/IOM)

In the same way, patients on the move “could connect to an app and speak with a doctor in their own language through an IOM service,” he said. “This would alleviate difficulties migrants can face in terms of accessing health care in other countries.”

But an even bigger challenge is the way medications are currently labeled when they are distributed to migrants and refugees at emergency centers. Aid groups typically provide newcomers with medications in clear plastic bags, with different labels attached to them.

“There’s different types of labels by different agencies,” explained Buckley. “The medications, because they’re often donated or they’re always bought in bulk, will be single tablets … which may, depending on the provider, be different types of tablets.”

The pills a migrant or refugee receives could be yellow and oblong on some days, blue and round on others – a situation that promotes mistrust despite the fact that the medications are prescribed for that particular individual.

“They might not trust they have the tablet,” he said. “And so building a level of trust is vital.”

But that’s harder to do with the existing labels, which offer very basic information and little or no insight into the prescribed medication. “When you and I buy medication, we’ll have a full information leaflet,” he added. “We’ll have dosage information. There’s very little information on most of these packages.”

And while recipients at the camp can ask aid groups for clarification, they are on their own once they are on the move again.

The picture shows the design for a medication label for Paracetamol. Migrants who see similar labels attached to their aid packs can scan the label with their phones to look up further information about the medication online. (Frontend/IOM)

The picture shows the design for a medication label for Paracetamol. Migrants who see similar labels attached to their aid packs can scan the label with their phones to look up further information about the medication online. (Frontend/IOM)

But Frontend and IOM came up with an answer – an award-winning concept for a standardized label that all aid agencies can use.

The new label lets migrants with mobile phones scan a QR code to access more information about their medications. It also provides additional iconography and language for aid workers on the ground to customize the information for patients in different languages “so that a person with a mobile phone could scan that and get access to the information in their own language.”

Frontend and IOM are looking to partner with the World Health Organization to make the label a reality. In the process, Buckley hopes to promote human-centered design – understanding the needs of end-users first – as an effective way to tackle social issues.

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.

More Ads Stray Into Windows 10; Backup Files Before Next iOS Update

Posted March 9th, 2017 at 1:14 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A display for the Windows 10 operating system is seen in a store window at the Microsoft store at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York. (Reuters)

FILE – A display for the Windows 10 operating system is seen in a store window at the Microsoft store at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York. (Reuters)

Microsoft Ads Invade Windows 10’s File Explorer

Microsoft is spamming Windows 10 systems with ads that are appearing in the file system. Some users report an ad about Office 365 hidden in an offer to expand cloud storage. Writer Ian Paul shares a tip to turn these ads off if you are one of numerous people who have been complaining about this intrusion on social media in the past few days.

The Next Version of iOS Will Feature Major but Hidden Change

When was the last time you backed up your iOS data? Writer Julie Bort suggests that you do before the next iOS version arrives. The update introduces a new filing structure to replace the previous, 30-year-old system. The catch is the change is not compatible with older files, so if your files go the way of the dinosaur, you’re going to wish you had them on a backup device.

Europol: Technology Is Now at Root of Almost All Serious Crime

Europe’s police agency is blaming technology for driving almost all serious crime. In a study of organized crime, the agency said ransomware has become a major concern, but many traditional criminals are now relying on computers, drones and social media to track their victims and determine the best time for them to go after their valuables.

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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.

Getting More Women Into Tech; Millions of Android Devices at Risk

Posted March 8th, 2017 at 1:03 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Women perform behind "Glass Celling" during a rally to mark International Women's Day in Tbilisi, Georgia March 8, 2017. (Reuters)

Women perform behind a “Glass Celling” during a rally to mark International Women’s Day in Tbilisi, Georgia, March 8, 2017. (Reuters)

Microsoft, LinkedIn Encourage Girls to Pursue STEM on International Women’s Day

The World Economic Forum notes that only 16 percent of female students graduate from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula. In the U.S., only 26 percent of employees in computer and mathematics jobs are women, according to the Department of Labor. In an effort to boost the numbers, Microsoft and LinkedIn have launched a campaign to encourage more women to go into STEM fields, aided by a tool called Career Explorer, which is designed to inspire women to pursue STEM studies.

Connecting Everything to the Internet: What Could Go Wrong?

Like it or not, Wi-Fi is about to connect every gadget in your life, regardless of how useless or unsafe. Writer Max Eddy argues Internet of Things (IoT) devices are lacking in utility as manufacturers roll them out without regard to privacy or security. But they are unsafe not just because they could be hijacked or compromised, but because manufacturers are siphoning off volumes of user data indiscriminately without being transparent about how this personal information is used and stored.

Hundreds of Millions of Android Devices at Risk

The fallout from Tuesday’s WikiLeaks’ dump of thousands of documents allegedly exposing a trove of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools has sent gadget makers scrambling. Apple said it will quickly address all iOS vulnerabilities that supposedly allow the CIA to siphon off data from iPhones and iPads. But Samsung smart TVs and other Android devices are also said to be at risk. Several vulnerabilities still need to be addressed, mostly targeting Android 4.4 and earlier versions. Up to 33.4 percent of all active Android devices run Android 4.4 or older, according to Google.

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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.

Alleged CIA Hacking Kit Published; Danish Watchdog Calls Out Google

Posted March 7th, 2017 at 12:59 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

A screenshot from WikiLeaks' website shows the documents purportedly taken from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and revealing the extent of the agency's hacking powers. (WikiLeaks Website)

A screenshot from WikiLeaks’ website shows the documents purportedly taken from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and revealing the extent of the agency’s hacking powers. (WikiLeaks Website)

WikiLeaks Publishes CIA Trove Alleging Wide-scale Hacking

Thousands of documents, allegedly from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, have been dumped on the internet, purportedly exposing the agency’s massive trove of hacking tools. The documents were published by WikiLeaks, though it is unclear how the group gained access to them. The dump includes more than 8,700 documents and files pointing to discussions about ways to hack into smart televisions and mobile devices.

Danish Watchdog Reports Google for Unlimited Data Storage

A Danish consumer group has reported Google to the Danish Data Protection Agency for allegedly breaking privacy laws by not capping the storage of personal data on its servers. The group revealed in a report that “Google today has 9-10 years of data on users with a Google account.”  There has been no comment from Google yet.

Want to Chat Securely? Here’s What to Look for in an App

More and more chat apps are using end-to-end encryption to secure your communications so that third parties are unable to intercept them. But not all apps are created equal. Writer Selena Larson has a few tips to help you read the fine print to privacy and encryption and pick the messaging app that’s right for you.

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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.

Cope With Eating Disorders, ADHD and Smoking With These Apps

Posted March 3rd, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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A screenshot of 'Renew', the new program for 'Recovery Record', an app to help people with eating disorders. (Recovery Record)

A screenshot of “Renew’,” a new program for “Recovery Record’,” an app to help people with eating disorders. (Recovery Record)

A few months into 2017, some folks might still be having a hard time following up on their New Year’s resolutions and others may be looking for ways to change their behavior. But a few interesting apps that recently crossed Techtonics’ radar could nudge you in that direction and give you a helping hand.

Recovery Record’s Renew

Renew is a new program for free mobile app Recovery Record that targets people with eating disorders. Born out of a partnership between the National Eating Disorders Association and mental health platform Recovery Record, the program capitalizes on mobile penetration in the United States to reach millions of people with eating disorders who never receive the treatments they need.

Developed by Stanford University and the National Institute of Mental Health, the program uses insights from clinical trials and scientific research to guide individuals coping with eating disorders toward treatment options and developing strategies that work for them.

Similar apps around cognitive behavioral therapy include Rise Up + Recover and WhatsMyM3.

Kick.It

Out of Australia comes a new app to help smokers kick the habit for good. Kick.It uses extinction therapy to change the smoker’s behavior and provide support. When a smoker feels the urge to light up, he can log into the app instead and reach out for community support.

Other apps, both paid and free, that encourage smokers to kick the habit include Butt Out, Kwit, and Smoke Free.

iGotThis

iGotThis is a new app that focuses on helping children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) boost their self-esteem and productivity. The app, currently being funded in Kickstarter, provides a variety of activities to teach kids skills that reinforce good habits and put them on the path to success.

The app also helps parents improve communication and positive reinforcement, and provides them with planners, checklists and reminders to make their work easier. And when they need a little help, the app connects them with community support in real time.

ModMath, also in Kickstarter, is a free app that helps kids with ADHD deal with dysgraphia and

A screenshot shows options for recording notes in Titan Note. (Erik Jansson)

A screenshot shows options for recording notes in Titan Note. (Erik Jansson)

dyslexia. Dysgraphia makes the handwriting of affected children illegible and can cause problems for them when studying math and using correct numbers. With ModMath, children can use touch screens and on-screen keypads to do their math homework and then send it off to their teachers.

There’s also an older app called ADHD, which provides information and insights for better understanding of the disorder.

Titan Note and Titan Note App

Currently in its campaign phase in Indiegogo, Titan App is a small device that records spoken words and transmits them to the Titan Note app, available for iOS and Android, where they are transcribed in real-time. Users can edit the material and download it as needed. While the app is intended to make tedious note-taking a bit easier, it could also help people who have trouble using paper and pen, such as those coping with Multiple Sclerosis, Dystopia, or Parkinson’s disease.

Titan Note can also translate texts into 10 different languages, including Spanish, German, French, Italian and Danish.

Sounds great, but some people are skeptical.

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.

Jury Out on Online Suicide-prevention Tools; ‘TorrentLocker’ Is Back

Posted March 2nd, 2017 at 12:31 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - Facebook's User Operations Safety Team workers look at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. (AP)

FILE – Facebook’s User Operations Safety Team workers look at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. (AP)

Big Questions Surround Facebook’s Suicide-Prevention Tools

Facebook has been ramping up its suicide-prevention tools to include ways to encourage users to report people whose Facebook streams contain signs of self-injury. The person with the perceived suicidal tendencies then sees a message that provides resources for help. Writer Rachel Metz says experts see this as a move in the right direction, although there is no scientific evidence that these types of tools are effective.

Inventive Dad Builds Son a Bionic Arm Using 3-D Printer

Sol Ryan’s arm was amputated when he was only 10 days old. After his Welsh father, Ben, was told there was nothing doctors could do for his son until he is three years old, he came up with the idea of developing a bionic arm for him, using 3-D printing technology. The prototype, based on a scan of the child’s arm, imitates the way spiders move, using liquid pressure, and allows the child to grab and manipulate objects.

This Old Ransomware Variant Is Back – With Sneaky New Tricks

TorrentLocker ransomware, also known as CryptoLocker, is making a comeback after two years in hibernation. The revived variant uses emails marked ‘high importance’ that include a malicious attachment. Once downloaded, the virus steals credentials and demands ransom. The previous version targeted Windows users in 2014.

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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.