Peter Suciu

About the Author Peter Suciu


Emerging Tech

The Rise of AI: Give Me That New Time Religion?

Anthony Levandowski, known for his work developing self-driving auto technology, reportedly has started the world’s first artificial intelligence-based religion. Levandowski, who has been at the center of a legal dispute between Google’s Waymo self-driving unit and Uber, has cast himself as the frontman for the Way of the Future church. The mission of this “technotheistic” movement is spelled out in documents filed with the IRS.

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Home Tech

Google Assistant Shines in Pint-Sized Home Mini

The first wave of reviews touting Google’s Home Mini smart speaker surfaced this week, following reports that the company had to quash a top touch function to prevent the device from accidentally activating and recording conversations without users’ knowledge. Google has promised to update the device by Oct. 15. The Home Mini can provide reports on weather, traffic, news, sports and more.

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Online Entertainment

Roku Sets Up New Streaming Player Buffet

Roku has introduced five new streaming media players designed to provide viewers with new and improved ways to connect to content. The five players range in price from $29.99 to $99.99, and offer a variety of features and functionality. The introductory-level Roku Express targets new cord cutters who want to stream TV content, or those who want to extend their Roku experience throughout the house.

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E-commerce

Google Adds a Brick to Online Publishers’ Paywalls

Google on Monday announced that it was dropping its decade-old policy of requiring media and news publishers to provide a limited amount of free content. The so-called “first click free” policy meant that publishers had to make a certain amount of content available to users who conducted a search on Google, even if their stories, videos or images otherwise were behind a paywall.

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Online Entertainment

Google Assistant Goes to Work for Nvidia’s Shield TV

Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99.

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Transportation

Ford Motor Puts Design Strategy Under the HoloLens

Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford’s design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools — a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors — for mixed reality headsets and visualization software.

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Home Tech

Is Packaged Entertainment Media Really on the Way Out?

As home video viewing patterns continue to evolve, one common prediction is that packaged media is on its last legs. Streaming services have been gaining market share. In fact, streaming media sales eclipsed sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in Q4 2016 — with discs accounting for $5.4 billion in annual U.S. sales compared to the $6.2 billion haul for SVOD providers.

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Smartphones

Samsung’s Note8 Is Its Biggest Galaxy Phone Yet

Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Note8 smartphone, positioning the oversized handset as the ideal choice for those who want to do bigger things. The new Android-powered device’s larger Infinity Display features nearly bezel-less full-frontal glass and an edge-to-edge screen. The Note8 comes with an improved S Pen that will allow users to communicate in what the company called more “personal ways.”

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Cloud Computing

What’s Up With Google Docs

Google on Wednesday introduced a number of collaborative features to its office productivity tools. The latest versions of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides will include new editing functionality that will enable office teams to work together in real time on the most up-to-date versions of their files. The new features will ensure that every collaborator is working on the same document, explained Birkan Icacan, product manager for Google Docs.

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Tech Buzz

Amazon’s Secret 1492 Health Team Sets Sail

A secret Amazon team, dubbed “1492,” reportedly has been working on a skunkworks project devoted entirely to healthcare. The unit has been developing hardware devices and software applications related to electronic medical records, telemedicine and other health-related issues. Amazon’s aim is to cover the bases in the healthcare arena, likely a bid to cash in on its massive profit potential.

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Emerging Tech

Cortana Makes Smart Thermostat a Glas Act

Microsoft and Johnson Controls have unveiled Glas, a smart thermostat that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core, a special OS designed specifically for smaller devices. Glas also utilizes Microsoft’s smart voice assistant Cortana and its Azure Cloud to help users save energy while monitoring air quality in the home. Heating and cooling account for around 48 percent of residential energy use.

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Photography

Has Photobucket Painted Itself Into a Corner?

Various celebrities over the years have “broken the Internet” when risqué photos or shocking revelations surfaced, with or without their knowledge or approval. Photo hosting service Photobucket may have surpassed Kim Kardashian’s most notorious stunts, though. The company recently changed its user agreement for the hosting of images on third-party sites, and truly may have broken the Internet.

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Transportation

Hyperloop One Test: Beginning of a New Transportation Era?

Hyperloop One has conducted a successful first test of a specially designed vehicle to travel in a vacuum environment. The company achieved controlled propulsion and levitation of a Hyperloop One vehicle at 70 mph on a 315-foot test track in the Nevada desert. The test vehicle reached nearly 2Gs of acceleration during its brief 5.3 second test run on the specially built track.

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Smartphones

At 10, the World-Changing iPhone Is Kind of the Same

Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of its iconic iPhone on Thursday. Since former CEO Steve Jobs debuted the original device, the company has gone on to sell more than a billion handsets worldwide, and the iPhone has become one of the most successful product categories in the electronics industry. The iPhone proved to be a major disrupter in the mobile phone category after its unveiling.

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Virtual Reality

Art, History and 3D Printing

The Tech Museum of Innovation last month debuted an exhibit that includes numerous installations with an interactive component. Visitors can don Occulus VR headsets to appreciate classical works of art in virtual reality — a completely new museum experience. There long has been a debate on what constitutes “art” — and opinions have differed as to how music, film, radio and TV fit in.

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Gaming

Microsoft’s Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game

Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as “Beam.” In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers. The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft.

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