Cutting the Cord

Cutting the Cord

Technology
by Daniel B. Simmons [caption id="attachment_2571" align="aligncenter" width="241"] photo by Statistic world[/caption]   Long time readers of Thrive Detroit may remember the 2012 article entitled Do You Really Need Cable TV. In it I explore the pros and cons of “cutting the cord” and embracing an all-digital, online solution for your entertainment needs.  In the few years since, the variety of devices and services offered has expanded; however just as before, some caveats apply. If you are someone who likes to be in control of their media, and are willing to make a couple of sacrifices in the process then now is as great a time as any to make the transition. Many people go into the search for cord-cutting options with the objective of saving money on their monthly…
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Is it Possible to Prevent Online Hatred from Turning into Offline Tragedy?

Is it Possible to Prevent Online Hatred from Turning into Offline Tragedy?

Commentary, Life & Community, Technology
By Daniel Simmons The Internet is the most comprehensive communication tool ever contrived, so broad in scope that it defies categorization. It has grown to encompass nearly every niche, culture, and idea that humanity has to offer. Therefore, it is inevitable that some corners of the Internet encourage ideas ranging from mildly offensive to legitimately dangerous. In the wake of two recent mass shootings, each involving suspects who frequented extremist websites, many are revisiting the idea of increased transparency and censorship online. Popular websites have long grappled with how to elevate discourse without alienating their user base. For example, for much of its early history, YouTube’s comments section was frequently flooded with “internet trolls” (commenters who stir controversy for their own amusement), who attempted to drown out all meaningful conversation.…
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Attack of the Consumer Drones

Attack of the Consumer Drones

Commentary, Technology
Daniel Simmons Thrive Detroit Until recently, aerial drones have been solely the province of dedicated DIY-ers or clandestine government agencies. However, due to the miniaturization of the sensing, localization, and control technologies inside them, drones are becoming increasingly common among casual hobbyists. Little more than a decade ago, the hardware in a common consumer drone like the popular DJI Phantom would have filled a small garage and cost a small fortune. Now, thanks to some impressive engineering wizardry, that same technology fits in the palm of your hand, and costs as little as a few lunches from Chipotle. Besides sharing the same moniker, there is scant similarity between the controversial army of drones commanded by the U.S. military and the growing number of quadcopters hovering above American soil. The fixed-wing,…
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New Control Devices: Solutions Looking for a Problem?

New Control Devices: Solutions Looking for a Problem?

Technology
If you‘re an early adopter, you’ve no doubt found yourself watching the window with bated breath for   the next gadget promised to enhance your life and productivity. This was the scenario I found myself in this January as I waited for my new Myo from upstart technology firm Thalmic Labs. The Myo is a Bluetooth-enabled electronic wristband that wirelessly connects to your smartphone, tablet, desktop, or drone and allows you to control them with various hand signals. It all looks and sounds very intuitive and futuristic and, in some ways, it is. The Myo works by reading the unique electromyographical signals that your forearm muscles give off when performing hand gestures, then maps them to different functions for your device. Bearing all of this in mind, a mere two weeks…
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HBO GO Finally Cuts the Cord from Cable Providers

Technology
  For decades, HBO has been the standard of premium cable television service. In that period, few networks have maintained the steady stream of hit television and original content for which HBO is famous. Via shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, and more recent fare like True Blood or Game of Thrones, HBO has made a consistent case for the $10 - $15 per month premium on top of your cable bill. Now, thanks to fierce competition from streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime, HBO can be had sans cable subscription for the first time in its 42-year history. Starting in 2015, HBO will be offering its online streaming HBO Go service to non-cable subscribers. Although many of its shows are already available online via Amazon Prime,…
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Alleged iCloud Hack Sees Hundreds of Celebrity Photos Leaked Online

Technology
  In case there weren’t enough examples of the perils of storing private information on the web, an anonymous hacker (or hackers) has provided users of connected devices with yet another cautionary tale illustrating what and what not to share online. On August 31, the personal photos and videos of over a dozen actresses, models, and musicians were leaked on the anonymous online image board 4chan.org. The leak quickly spread onto the popular news and media sites reddit.com and imgur before finally making its way to more mainstream outlets like Facebook and Twitter. More torrent than leak, the posts feature hundreds of selfies of 20 female celebrities that, based on the subject matter, were not intended for mass public consumption. The images were posted anonymously by several users on multiple…
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