This week on the web brought news of security advances -- Microsoft will soon let people use their eyes, faces, and/or fingertips to log in, while Yahoo has already started offering one-time-only passwords to get into email accounts. In other news, Amazon's drones are coming, Internet Explorer is going, disgruntled Apple users grumbled about the upcoming MacBook, Tinder users got their hearts broken by a robot, a new program promises real help for people suffering from social anxiety, and Monica Lewinsky got a standing ovation for her TED talk on cyberbullying.
MacBook Brings Out the Haters
When Apple recently announced its new product line-up, most of the attention was focused on the Apple Watch. But the Watch wasn't the only product that generated reams of controversy. The new super-thin MacBook also attracted its share of haters, who were so upset that TechCrunch describes them as feeling "betrayed." The problem is that the MacBook only has a single port, which limits the number of things that users can do at once.
Meanwhile, Apple is waxing eloquent about the MacBook's "gorgeous" Retina display, its keyboard that "just feels right," and how it is the lightest and thinnest Mac notebook ever. Time will tell whether the haters or the fans will win out in the end when the MacBook hits the market..
Windows 10 Wants to Gaze Into Your Eyes
Meanwhile, as fans and detractors argue about the MacBook, Apple better watch out for Microsoft, which hopes to one-up Apple when it comes to security. Apple got a lot of love for replacing typed-in passwords with fingertip sensors on its new iPhones, but Microsoft will soon be going even further.
When Windows 10 is released, users who have the necessary hardware will have the option to use scans of their fingerprints, face, or eyes to authenticate their identities instead of typing in passwords. The service, called "Windows Hello," will be available on computers, phones, and tablets.
Yahoo's New One-Time-Only Password
Yahoo is jumping on the security bandwagon too. Users can now request that a new password for Yahoo Mail be texted to them every time they log into their mail accounts. Yahoo's ultimate goal is to do away with password-based security altogether, and the company hopes to launch an encryption program by the end of the year.
Help for Social Anxiety
An innovative program hopes to help people who have social anxiety, a problem affecting 15 million people in the U.S., with the vast majority not receiving adequate treatment. The program, recently launched online by a start-up company called Joyable, uses techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, which has a great track record for helping people with anxiety. The program helps users identify their anxiety-provoking thoughts and substitute thoughts that are more helpful.
The Joyable founders said that when they tested the program, 90 percent of the users reported feeling less anxious. The founders hope to branch out with programs treating other psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Too Good to Be True
The guys at the South by Southwest festival must have been thrilled when they came across a gorgeous woman on Tinder named Ava, who was beautiful enough to be a movie star.
It turns out she actually was a movie star -- and also a robot. The face in the photo belonged to Alicia Vikander, the star of the film "Ex Machina." The questions, though, that she asked her SXSW Tinder matches were the product of artificial intelligence, which is fitting since Ava, Vikander's character in the film, is an "eerily human robot."
Some of the guys felt let down on learning that Ava was too good to be true and was just part of a film marketing campaign. One Tinder user complained that Ava had toyed with his emotions. He didn't say whether he planned to see the movie.
Internet Explorer Finally Bites the Dust
Its iris-reading capabilities aren't the only thing generating buzz about Windows 10. People are also talking about the mercy killing of Internet Explorer, the 20-year-old browser that the tech savvy love to hate.
IE will still be available, for those who want it, on Windows 10, but it will no longer be the default Windows browser. That honor will go to browser temporarily being called "Spartan," which will be able to annotate web pages and respond to voice commands, and will offer a new reading interface.
Monica Lewinsky Speaks Out Against Cyberbullying
The Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, around the same time that Internet usage was becoming widespread. The result, she said in a recent TED talk, was that she was the first person whose personal reputation was attacked "on a global scale almost instantaneously."
The word "cyberbullying" hadn't yet been invented, but Lewinsky says that's what the experience was. Now, she is speaking out against online cruelty. "Public humiliation," she says, "as a blood sport has to stop."
Are Amazon Drones Coming at Last?
Amazon got past one hurdle this week in its quest to bring you books, snacks, and shoes via drones, when the Federal Aviation Administration approved Amazon's plans to run test flights. Don't expect to get your deliveries through your window any time soon, though. According to PC World, Amazon still has to go down a "long road" before being able to use the drones as part of its regular business.