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Tech Q&A: Recovering from Equifax, improving passwords, throwing Google off your scent and more

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Isabelle Olsson, Google's Head of Industrial Design for Home, speaks about the Google Home Mini during a launch event in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2017. Q: With the Equifax breach, I am worried that hackers can steal money from my bank account. A: The sheer number of victims is massive, and it keeps climbing with every new report. Meanwhile, Equifax has done a miserable job of comforting its customers, and the fallout has left far more questions than answers. The best thing you can do for your security is to establish two-factor authentication on your bank account.


Google's artificial intelligence computer 'no longer constrained by limits of human knowledge'

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The computer that stunned humanity by beating the best mortal players at a strategy board game requiring "intuition" has become even smarter, its creators claim. Even more startling, the updated version of AlphaGo is entirely self-taught -- a major step towards the rise of machines that achieve superhuman abilities "with no human input", they reported in the science journal Nature. Dubbed AlphaGo Zero, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system learnt by itself, within days, to master the ancient Chinese board game known as "Go" -- said to be the most complex two-person challenge ever invented. It came up with its own, novel moves to eclipse all the Go acumen humans have acquired over thousands of years. After just three days of self-training it was put to the ultimate test against AlphaGo, its forerunner which previously dethroned the top human champs.


How to stop your devices from listening to (and saving) everything you say

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With iOS 8, Apple introduced the "Hey Siri" wake phrase, so you can summon Siri without even touching your iPhone. Here's the easiest way to turn off "Hey Siri": Navigate to your iOS device's Settings Siri & Search, then toggle off "Allow Siri When Locked." Google recently released its latest masterpiece, "OK Google," the wake prompt for Google Assistant on Google Home speakers, Android smartphones and the Chrome browser. Here's how to turn off the "OK Google" wake phrase: On Android, go to Settings Google Search & Now Voice and turn "Ok Google" detection off.


Tech Q&A

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Q: I looked up my name at a people search site. Q: I was listening to your national radio show, and you were telling a teacher how to make serious money selling lesson plans online. School systems and other teachers are often desperate for lesson plans and supplementary materials, and the internet has become a thriving marketplace for pedagogical tools, thanks to one clever website. Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station.


Uber CEO takes indefinite leave, top executives will run company

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The move coincided with the release of former Attorney General Eric Holder's report on allegations of harassment throughout Uber's ranks. Uber released the list of recommendations provided by Holder's law firm, saying the company's board of directors will adopt all of the changes. The leadership team will run Uber's day-to-day operations while Kalanick is away. The investigations began after a former Uber employee wrote a blog post in February accusing managers of dismissing her complaints of sexual harassment.


Apple unveils the HOMEPOD

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The HomePod speaker was unveiled at a conference for software programmers on Monday, and will go head-to-head-to-head with Amazon and Google's popular digital home assistants. It's Apple's first new device since the company released the Apple Watch in April 2015. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180 and Google sells its Home speaker for $130. The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released last year, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market.


Now Siri sounds like a dude

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Apple's approach protects privacy, but might make the service less useful when switching devices. The Siri updates are expected in September with iOS 11, the next version of Apple's mobile Other features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages syncing in the cloud. Apple is also bringing the ability to pay back a friend or other individual through its payment service, Apple Pay. The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September when Apple typically releases new iPhones.


Google Photos gets upgrade

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With Suggested Sharing, Google Photos will tell you which photos it thinks you should share and who might want to see them. When your friends receive them, Google Photos will also remind them to add their pics, too. For an old-school throwback, meanwhile, Google also announced Photo Books, which are exactly what they sound like. Also at I/O today, Google announced upgrades for Google Home and launched the Google Assistant on iOS.


New iPhone voice assistant

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First reported by Android Police and confirmed by Bloomberg, Google is slated to bring its Assistant voice-powered assistant to the iPhone, as well as the company's existing Photos app and GE home appliances. Microsoft's Cortana is available via the App Store and Amazon's Alexa assistant was recently added to Amazon's main app, one of the most heavily downloaded apps. As part of the new Photos app, users will be able to create physical photo books. In recent months, Amazon has expanded the presence of its own voice assistant, Alexa, bringing Alexa to LG refrigerators as well as televisions made by other device makers.


Top Google Assistant tips

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If you're an Android phone user, great news. If you like listening to music or podcasts on YouTube Music or Google Play, just ask Google Assistant to set you up. One of the best things about virtual assistants and old-fashioned typed searches is that you can ask just about any question and get an answer. If you're already using Google Assistant on other devices, such as Google Home, you'll find that it works a little bit differently on different devices.