Texting Tsunami


Why Political Campaigns Are Sending 3 Billion Texts

By Election Day, voters in the U.S. will have received an estimated 3 billion political text messages. Those in swing states or in pivotal voting groups are facing a total inundation, the MIT Technology Review reports. Text messaging is being widely used in politics because it’s highly effective, hard to police, and great for spreading disinformation.


Hospitals Face Ransomware Attacks

Hundreds of American hospitals are being targeted in cyberattacks by the same Russian hackers who could sow mayhem around next week’s election, the New York Times reports. The attacks are intended to take health care facilities offline and hold their data hostage in exchange for multimillion-dollar ransom payments, just as coronavirus cases spike across the United States. Hospital networks are notoriously insecure, writes contributor Josephine Wolff.


Many Small Firms Still Struggle Online


Small firms represent 98 percent of all businesses in New York and generated more than $1.5 billion in economic impact statewide in 2019. But faced with new challenges during the pandemic, many have learned that migrating a brick-and-mortar business online is still easier said than done. Vox spoke with four small-business owners with varying digital footprints about what it’s been like to handle the surge in online shopping over the past few months. 


Discovering Something Big by Accident

Discord's founders just wanted to create a way to talk to their gamer friends. They created something much bigger, Protocol reports. Five years in, Discord's just now realizing it may have stumbled into something like the future of the internet.


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Tech CEOs Clash with Congress 


Democrats and Republicans grilled the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter at a highly partisan congressional hearing Wednesday that exposed differing views and deep distrust about the power of Silicon Valley to police the web, the Washington Post reports. Senate lawmakers had invited the CEOs to testify as part of a broad review of federal laws known as Section 230 that spare social media sites from being held liable for the content they allow or remove.


5G Takes Toll on iPhone 12's Battery Life 

Apple's new iPhone 12 smartphones are the first from the company to support 5G, but using the feature will cost you in terms of battery life, reports Mashable. Tests by Tom's Guide show the iPhone 12 lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes on 4G, but only eight hours and 25 minutes on 5G — roughly a 20 percent decrease.


Using LinkedIn Stories to Promote Your Business


LinkedIn made its Stories option available to all users late last month, providing another way to connect with a LinkedIn audience and share relevant updates, Social Media Today reports. Many people now prefer Stories over regular feed posts, which means that LinkedIn Stories could be a great way to maximize engagement.


What SEO Strategies Actually Work

The quick and easy search engine optimization hacks we’ve all read about online aren’t as reliable as they might seem, Web Designer Depot reports. Why? Because SEO isn’t about hacks, shortcuts, and hidden optimizations, but rather about resource allocation. 


BYO Data Types to Excel

In recent years, Microsoft started adding to Excel the concept of “data types”—for instance, the ability to pull in geography and real-time stock data from the cloud. Excel now features over 100 of these data types that can flow into a spreadsheet. Soon, Tech Crunch reports, Excel will also let you bring in your own data types. 


See Spot Learn New Tricks


With a training technique commonly used to teach dogs to sit and stay, Johns Hopkins University computer scientists showed a robot how to teach itself several new tricks, including stacking blocks. With the method, the robot—named Spot—was able to learn in days what typically takes a month, Science Daily reports.