Tag: Computers and the Internet

As Life Moves Online, an Older Generation Faces a Digital Divide

For more than a week, Linda Quinn, 81, has isolated herself inside her Bellevue, Wash., home to keep away from the coronavirus. Her only companion has been her goldendoodle, Lucy. To blunt the solitude, Ms. Quinn’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons wanted to hold video chats with her through Zoom, a videoconferencing app. So they […]

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Looking for Hope, Uplift or Just a Distraction From Virus Fears? Read On.

ATLANTA — Neighbors have shared messages of togetherness etched on sidewalks in chalk. Performers have shared their music. Restaurants have shared their food, handing out free meals and giving the homeless a place to dine together, just as long as they stayed six feet apart. With the possible exception of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks […]

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Under Coronavirus, Not All Virtual Learning Is the Same

America came face to face with the festering problem of digital inequality when most of the country responded to the coronavirus pandemic by shutting elementary and high schools that serve more than 50 million children. Even before the shutdown, an estimated 12 million children were having difficulty completing routine homework assignments — not to mention […]

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How the Pandemic is Magnifying America’s Class Divide

For about $80,000, an individual can purchase a six-month plan with Private Health Management, which helps people with serious medical issues navigate the health care system. Such a plan proved to be a literal lifesaver as the coronavirus pandemic descended. The firm has helped clients arrange tests in Los Angeles for the coronavirus and obtained […]

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Our ‘Digital Selves’ Are No Less Real

Last week, I went to the opera with a few friends. We dressed up, exchanged pleasantries, and toasted with prosecco at intermission. A day later I went to my favorite queer singalong piano bar, Marie’s Crisis, in the West Village, tipping my favorite pianist, the regular Friday bartender. I planned a workout class with a […]

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Viral Challenges Are What’s Keeping Us Occupied

In the past two weeks, Instagram has been overrun with viral challenges. On Tuesday, thousands of teenagers began posting unflattering photos of themselves to their feeds with the cryptic caption “until tomorrow.” Anyone who liked the photos, which are intended to only stay up for 24 hours, received a message from the user daring them […]

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A.I. Versus the Coronavirus

Advanced computers have defeated chess masters and learned how to pick through mountains of data to recognize faces and voices. Now, a billionaire developer of software and artificial intelligence is teaming up with top universities and companies to see if A.I. can help curb the current and future pandemics. Thomas M. Siebel, founder and chief […]

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She’s 10, Homeless and Eager to Learn. But She Has No Internet.

Allia Phillips was excited about picking up an iPad from her school in Harlem last week. She did not want to miss any classes and hoped to land on the fourth-grade honor roll again. On Monday, the first day that New York City public schools began remote learning, the 10-year-old placed her iPad on a […]

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Surging Traffic Is Slowing Down Our Internet

WASHINGTON — In late January, as China locked down some provinces to contain the spread of the coronavirus, average internet speeds in the country slowed as people who were stuck inside went online more and clogged the networks. In Hubei Province, the epicenter of infections, mobile broadband speeds fell by more than half. In mid-February, […]

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The Dos and Don’ts of Online Video Meetings

In the age of coronavirus, many of us have transformed overnight from office workers into telecommuters. And we are increasingly relying on videoconferencing apps like Zoom and FaceTime to correspond with our peers. But inevitably, with our homes and workplaces merging into one, the boundaries between our personal and professional lives are beginning to erode […]

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Suspect Held in South Korean Crackdown on Sexually Explicit Videos

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean police on Wednesday asked prosecutors to indict a 24-year-old man on charges he blackmailed dozens of young women, including at least 16 minors, into making sexually explicit video clips that he sold online through encrypted chat rooms. The case has galvanized nationwide attention to what women’s rights advocates […]

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Your Phone’s Accessibility Options Are More Useful Than You Think

Buried deep in your phone’s arcane settings are a collection of features under the mundane banner “Accessibility.” These features seem as if they’re just for people who have special needs — like being colorblind or having poor eyesight — but many of the tools you can find there are useful to everyone. There are slight […]

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Facebook Is ‘Just Trying to Keep the Lights On’ as Traffic Soars in Pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO — As the coronavirus spread around the world and people everywhere were ordered to stay home, phone calls over Facebook’s apps more than doubled. In many countries, messaging on Instagram and Facebook soared by over 50 percent, while group calls in Italy jumped by more than 1,000 percent. And hungry for information, people […]

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Facebook, Don’t Exploit Us in Our Time of Need

My relationship with social media? It’s complicated, to say the least. I have a Facebook account, but I rarely use it. I need consistent mental health breaks from Twitter, though I criticize myself for not being one of those writers who seems to thrive on the platform. I have an on-again-off-again relationship with Instagram, downloading […]

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Feeling Powerless About Coronavirus? Join a Mutual-Aid Network

A pandemic is frightening, and isolating. It is psychically frustrating: We need other people now more than ever. At the same time, other people have never been more dangerous to our health. The choice to go outside, even to help others, means assuming risk — for yourself, loved ones and strangers. It’s easy to feel […]

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The Coronavirus Revives Facebook as a News Powerhouse

Until recently, Facebook could feel at times like the virtual equivalent of a sleepy bingo parlor — an outmoded gathering place populated mainly by retirees looking for conversation and cheap fun. That was before the coronavirus. Now, stuck inside their homes and isolated from their families and friends, millions of Americans are rediscovering the social […]

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There Is a Racial Divide in Speech-Recognition Systems, Researchers Say

SAN FRANCISCO — With an iPhone, you can dictate a text message. Put Amazon’s Alexa on your coffee table, and you can request a song from across the room. But these devices may understand some voices better than others. Speech recognition systems from five of the world’s biggest tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM […]

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Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever

OAKLAND, Calif. — While the rest of the economy is tanking from the crippling impact of the coronavirus, business at the biggest technology companies is holding steady — even thriving. Amazon said it was hiring 100,000 warehouse workers to meet surging demand. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said traffic for video calling and messaging had […]

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The Search for E.T. Goes on Hold, for Now

One of the great science fiction fantasies of all time — that you might discover aliens texting you from outer space on your computer — is about to take a breather. For the last 21 years ordinary people, armchair astronomers, citizen scientists, sitting at home or in their offices, were able to participate in the […]

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As Coronavirus Surveillance Escalates, Personal Privacy Plummets

In South Korea, government agencies are harnessing surveillance-camera footage, smartphone location data and credit card purchase records to help trace the recent movements of coronavirus patients and establish virus transmission chains. In Lombardy, Italy, authorities are analyzing location data transmitted by citizens’ mobile phones to determine how many people are obeying a government lockdown order […]

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