America's broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the US government over ‘unconstitutional’ use of the Digital Millennium Copyright ActThe Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit on Thursday that American copyright wonks, technologists and security researchers have been hotly awaiting for nearly 20 years.If they succeed, one of America’s most controversial technology laws will be struck down, and countries all over the world who have been pressured by the US trade representative to adopt this American rule will have to figure out whether they’ll still enforce it, even after the US has given up on it. Related: Why the future of web browsers belongs to the biggest tech firms Related: Why Google’s fair use victory over Oracle matters Related: Firefox’s adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart Continue reading

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What is the Internet of Things and how does ARM fit in?

Britain’s best unknown technology company ARM Holdings has been bought by Japan’s SoftBank. But what exactly is the Internet of Things?Britain’s best unknown tech business ARM Holdings is being bought by Japan’s SoftBank on the back of the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT). But what is IoT, and what has a chip designer like ARM got to do with it? Continue reading

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The internet of things needs better-made things | John Naughton

Networked devices for your smart home are the modern way to manage your life, but the rush to sell shoddy smart products risks compromising securityYou know the problem. You’re going abroad for a couple of weeks, during which time your house will be empty. You haven’t yet got round to installing a burglar alarm

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Withings Body Cardio review: stylish scales for health obsessives

This easy-to-use device measures weight, fat, muscle, bone and water, as well as heart rate and artery health The Body Cardio is the latest smart scale from French health and internet of things manufacturer Withings, which aims to analyse your weight, fat, muscle, water and heart health and take the pain out of tracking your bodily fluctuations.It replaces the Withings Smart Body Analyzer, which could calculate fat mass as well as measure weight, and adds a new reading to the scale – Pulse wave velocity. PWV measures the speed that vibrations from your heartbeat travel along your arteries and provides an indicator of the stiffness of arteries and of cardiac health

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Nest Learning Thermostat third-gen: the simple, effective heating gadget

Smart home heating aid learns your schedule, turns off when you leave the house and increases energy efficiency with upgraded screen and workingsThe new Nest learning thermostat is the third-generation heating control system from Google owner Alphabet’s subsidiary. It is the second version to be released in the UK, and now comes with a bigger, clearer screen and more advanced components that not only work better, but also protect your boiler.Pros: simple to use, automatic when set up, attractive, auto-away, thermostatic, nice screen, attractive on wall or on stand, wired or wirelessCons: lack of widespread IoT integration in the UK, no room-by-room temperature control Continue reading

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Five in-home robots that could change your life

Whether you want help with cooking, cleaning or even dating, there’s a droid for the job. Here are a handful of home assistants who would love to serve youMeet Zenbo, the Asus robot that costs no more than a smartphoneIn-home robots to help with everything from cooking and cleaning to childcare and companionship have been the stuff of sci-fi for decades. But, with the unveiling this week of the Wall-E-like Asus Zenbo, this is the year that science-fiction could turn into science-fact, introducing home assistants that can talk to you, control your electronics and help out with the chores

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Meet Zenbo, the Asus robot that costs no more than a smartphone

Voice-controlled companion, whose touchscreen face shows its emotions, can entertain kids and control the lightsThe Taiwanese electronics manufacture Asus has unveiled a home robot called Zenbo that can talk, control your home and provide assistance when needed – all for the cost of a top-end smartphone.The $599 (£410) robot rolls around on two wheels in the shape of a vacuum cleaner ball with cameras an oblong head extruding from the top with a colour touchscreen displaying a face with emotions. It is capable of independent movement, can respond to voice commands and has both entertainment protocols for keeping kids amused and home care systems to help look after older people

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'She has a name': Amazon's Alexa is a sleeper hit, with serious superfans

The always-on Amazon Echo is developing a personality among early adopters who say they aren’t worried about privacy, and welcome a listening ear When Steven Arkonovich brought home his Amazon Echo, he knew the little machine’s basic functions: he could ask it to tell him the weather, add something to his shopping cart, or play NPR. The Echo was always on, waiting, listening for his invocation. Say “Alexa” and it lit up blue, ready to answer questions – “Where is the nearest Chinese restaurant?” – or act on orders – ‘Call me an Uber’ – responding in a calm, confident female voice

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Google Now turns Siri on after being prodded by Alexa in virtual threesome

This is how you can get Amazon’s Alexa talking to Google’s Now to activate Apple’s Siri, in a voice-assistant Rube Goldberg machineWhy just use one voice assistant when you can get Amazon’s Alexa to command Google’s Now to activate Apple’s Siri?This voice-assistant three-way was enabled by using Amazon’s recently released Alexa voice-command system, which the company hopes will help developers insert its voice assistant (made popular in the US by Amazon’s Echo intelligent speaker) into their new products. Whether Amazon envisioned them being used to talk to competitor products, we’ll never know. Continue reading

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UK farmers to test hi-tech beans that could prevent food waste

As agriculture invests more in big data, tech veteran Andrew Holland is getting ready to test his small sensor device in grain silosWhen it comes to the internet of things (IoT), the fanfare is often around items like fridges, cars, and entire skyscrapers. But one entrepreneur is thinking small, producing highly-connected devices the size of a bean. BeanIoT is the brainchild of tech veteran Andrew Holland, who says that the size and shape of a bean (roughly 45mm by 18mm) makes it ideal as a versatile, low-profile monitoring device

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