Critic’s Notebook: A Celebrity Z-List? Yes, It Exists


Here is the latest Gadget News from The New York Times.

Critic’s Notebook: A Celebrity Z-List? Yes, It Exists
As the gossip machine continues to define celebrity downward, a striving celebrity underclass has risen to dominate it.

Front Row: This Fashion Week, Google Gets a New Look
The latest tech giant to woo the fashion world isn’t a social network. It’s a search engine.

Tech Tip: Turn Your Phone Into an Early Warning System
Mobile alerts and free tools can notify you and help you prepare for emergencies including extreme weather, natural disasters and other crisis situations.

Letter of Recommendation: Letter of Recommendation: The Useless Machine
An executive toy that’s more like a battery-operated koan about humans and technology.

Tech Tip: Are the Free Wi-Fi Kiosks on New York Streets Safe?
Like other urban areas, New York City has free internet hot spots around town that can give you web access. But as always, be careful.

Tech Tip: Transforming Paper Business Cards Into Digital Contacts
Beaming contacts is a modern way of exchanging information, but you can also convert those cardboard rectangles into handy electronic files.

Tech Tip: A Few Reasons Your Phone Isn’t Getting the Update
As Google and Apple improve their mobile operating systems each year, older phone hardware cannot keep up with the new software.

Tech Tip: Restoring That Email You Just Deleted Accidentally
If you mistakenly dump an important piece of mail in the trash, don’t panic.

App Smart: Looking for a New Job? These Free Apps Can Help
There are several good options available to make the job hunt easier and quicker, including Indeed, Switch and Monster.

Video Games Allow Characters More Varied Sexual Identities
Video games have become more inclusive regarding gender and sexuality, adding features to accommodate L.G.B.T. players.

Tech Tip: Picking a Digital Publishing Format
E-book readers and tablets can handle several types of files, but some may work better for certain kinds of books.

Tech Tip: Get Your Photos Looking Better on Facebook
The social network includes an option in the settings for displaying nicer-looking versions of the pictures you upload from your phone.

Tech Tip: Turn Your Smartphone Into a Pocket Scanner
If your mobile gadget has a good camera and you have the right app, you do not need anything more to make quick digital copies of documents.

Tech Tip: How to Get Twitter’s Blue Badge of Authenticity
You can now apply for one of those little blue checks next to your user name that signify an official Twitter account.

Tech Fix: Subscribe and Save on Amazon? Don’t Count on It
Household staples like coffee and paper towels arrive automatically, but the prices may vary by as much as 170 percent.

On Technology: Turning Instagram Into a Radically Unfiltered Travel Guide
Exploring the app’s geolocation tags can transform it into an innovative and frenetic sort of tourism map — one tailored just for you.

Pandora Looks for a Way Out of the Doldrums. Cue Questlove.
The involvement of Questlove, of the Roots, is an important endorsement as the internet radio giant tries to compete directly with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.

State of the Art: Gawker’s Gone. Long Live Gawker.
Even if you avoided, you can’t escape its influence. Elements of its tone, style, sensibility, business model and work flow have colonized just about every other media company.

App Smart: Flash Card, Math and Organizer Apps for the 21st Century Student
StudyBlue, Symbolab and Google Keep are just a few of the apps that revolutionize tasks once done with pen and paper.

Feature: Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine
How a strange new class of media outlet has arisen to take over our news feeds.

Liberal, Moderate or Conservative? See How Facebook Labels You
Take these steps to discover how the social network categorizes your political leanings.

Your Money Adviser: Social Security Retreats From Cellphone-Based Online Security
The change means users can log on to their online “mySocialSecurity” accounts as before, with just a username and password.

Twitter Suspends 235,000 More Accounts Over Extremism
The suspensions over the last six months are part of the social network’s continuing effort to stop people from using it to promote terror.

Uber Builds on Self-Driving Ambitions With Otto, a Trucking Start-Up
The move is the most recent indication of Uber’s ambitions for autonomous vehicles that can provide services to both consumers and businesses.

Tech Tip: How to Set Up a Mass Email System
Many programs and services, such as MailChimp, can handle your hefty mailing list, and some of them are free.

Tech Tip: Converting Spreadsheets in Apple’s Numbers to Excel
Apple’s spreadsheet program can edit Microsoft Excel files, but you need to take an extra step to use those files in Excel again.

Tech Tip: Comparing Digital Video Recorders
Your cable provider can offer you a DVR to record your favorite programs, but TiVo’s hardware can do more than just time-shift your shows.

App Smart: Apps That Help Take the Guesswork Out of Grilling
Apps provide recipes, timers, advice — everything you need except steaks and burgers to make your cookout delicious.

Tech Fix: Google Duo Makes Video Calling Between Operating Systems Easier
The app fits into Google’s playbook. Over the last few years, Google has increasingly offered its important software and internet services to iPhone customers.

State of the Art: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News
Both Snapchat Stories and the newer Instagram Stories let users experience their friends’ most intimate and endearing moments in a news-free zone.

With N.F.L. Deal, Twitter Live-Streams Its Ambitions
After the social network streams its first N.F.L. game on Sept. 15, it will assess whether live streaming can be a linchpin of its future.

Snapchat Finds Itself on the Wrong Side of a Racial Lens. Again.
A lens that gave users slanted eyes was criticized as an Asian caricature. It wasn’t the first time the app has faced a backlash.

Tech Tip: Which Co-Pilot to Choose: Google Maps or Waze?
Google owns both mapping and navigation apps, but Google Maps and Waze take their own approach to getting you to your destination.

Tech Tip: Taking the Windows 10 Express
Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update has just landed, but even if you chose the Express Settings during setup, you can still make adjustments.

Tech Tip: Personalized Traffic Alerts From Google
Google Maps pulls in data from several places, including crowd-sourced highway reports from its Waze service, to warn you what’s up the road.

Tech Tip: Sharing the Laptop’s Screen With the TV
You can watch the video from your laptop on your television, as long as you have the correct cable or other hardware to connect them.

Tech Tip: Snapping a Flurry of Photos
Many iPhones and other camera-equipped devices have a “burst mode” that takes a batch of pictures in a quick sequence so you can get that action shot.

Disney Bets on Streaming, Joining With Major League Baseball
BamTech, which handles streaming for baseball teams and Time Warner’s HBO, will help Disney introduce an ESPN-branded subscription service.

Self-Service Checkouts Can Turn Customers Into Shoplifters, Study Says
The study of purchases in countries like Britain and the United States suggested that shoppers may find it easy to justify not scanning merchandise and taking it without paying.

Heads Up: London Bookstores Go Rogue as No Wi-Fi Zones
A crop of bookshops buck the trend of high-speed Wi-Fi and barista-made coffee in favor of the centuries-old tradition of disconnected browsing.

Facebook Helps Develop Software That Puts Students in Charge of Their Lesson Plans
In collaboration with a charter school network, Facebook has developed a student-directed learning platform aimed at public schools.

Facebook Blocks Ad Blockers, but It Strives to Make Ads More Relevant
The programs that prevent websites from displaying ads will be rendered useless for those accessing the social network’s desktop site, but not on mobile browsers.

App Smart: A Beauty Makeover With One Tool: Your Phone
Apps let users see how they would look wearing specific cosmetics, without lifting a brush.

Tech Fix: Off to College? Maybe These Devices Should Go Along
From computers to coffee makers, choosing the right devices for students can be tough. Here’s a guide to make back-to-school shopping a little easier.

State of the Art: Think Amazon’s Drone Delivery Idea Is a Gimmick? Think Again
Amazon doesn’t reveal much, but a little sleuthing suggests that drones may be central to the online retailer’s long-term strategy.

Confused by Chip Credit Cards? Get in Line
Swipe the card. Nope. Dip the card? Maybe. Feel like an idiot? Definitely.

Tech Tip: Adding Old Movies to an Old-Fashioned iPod
The iTunes Store is not the only place to get movies for an iPod Nano or Classic, but you can use the iTunes program itself to transfer the files.

On Fantasy Sports: Win for DraftKings and FanDuel Opens Door for Sports Betting in New York
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill classifying daily fantasy sports as a game of skill. It is a step toward legalized betting on games.

Shocker! Facebook Changes Its Algorithm to Avoid ‘Clickbait’
A change in the social network’s algorithm is meant to identify misleading headlines on news stories and rank them lower, to keep users coming back.

Tech Tip: Finding Alternatives to Microsoft Excel
Many other programs and online software services can open, view and even edit spreadsheets created by Microsoft’s flagship business application.

How Snapchat Helped Ad Buyers Get Over Their Fear of a Ghost
When the company started offering ads, brands were wary of high prices and vanishing content. Then it let football fans drench themselves in virtual Gatorade.

Instagram Takes a Page From Snapchat, and Takes Aim at It, Too
The new service from Facebook’s photo-sharing app will let people share photos and videos that have a life span of no more than 24 hours with friends who follow them.

App Smart: Video Games Where Batman’s Psyche Trumps Whiz-Bang Action
Telltale Games has wooed gamers, and Hollywood, by breathing new life into the genre of narrative video games that let players decide how a plot unfolds.

State of the Art: Even Uber Couldn’t Bridge the China Divide
The ride-hailing company joins the top tech giants in failing to overcome the enormous and varied barriers to competing effectively in China.

China, Not Silicon Valley, Is Cutting Edge in Mobile Tech
American tech companies study Chinese users and apps as a smartphone revolution changes how people interact, buy products and manage their money.

Bitcoin Plunges After Hacking of Exchange in Hong Kong
Millions of dollars’ worth of the currency was taken from Bitfinex, causing a 20 percent decline in the price, which partially recovered later.

Do-It-Yourself Fashion Thrives at the McCall Pattern Company
Far from the glitz of the runway, on a cluttered floor of an old Manhattan skyscraper, an iconic brand offers sewing for the Instagram generation.

Tech Tip: Flowing Internet Video Streams Through the Television
Plenty of internet-ready hardware can pull in programming over a broadband connection, and it takes just takes a few steps to set it all up.

Tech Tip: Sharing Video Streams on Facebook
Facebook Live makes it easy to stream real-time video from your mobile device to everybody in your world — or the world at large.

Tech Tip: Getting Chatty in Gmail
Google’s mail program offers its users the choice between a no-frills instant-messaging service and a more full-featured communications hub.

Tech Tip: Schooling Siri on Unusual Names
If the iOS virtual assistant app garbles names that sound different from the way they’re spelled, you can take steps to correct the pronunciation.

App Smart: Prisma Adds an Artist’s Touch to Photos
Released less than two months ago, the app has become popular with its ability to remake photos as abstracts, manga cartoons or other styles of art.

Didi Chuxing and Uber, Popular in China, Are Now Legal, Too
Although they have had huge success, and billions of dollars in investment, in the country, the ride-hailing services had operated in a legal gray area.

I Was Misinformed: Smile for the Phone, Creep
That nonlethal weapon, the smartphone, can deliver justice. But only if you can unlock it.

Tech Tip: Reporting an ‘I.R.S.’ Telephone Scam
Crooks will try to contact you in many ways to steal your money or identity, so be on guard for impersonators on the phone.

Tech Fix: Alexa, What Else Can You Do? Getting More From Amazon Echo
Making Amazon’s voice-activated speaker smarter is not intuitive, but with a little tinkering, consumers can expand its skills.

Tech Tip: Getting Extensions for Edge
Early versions of Microsoft’s new browser did not include support for extensions, but the next big update to Windows 10 brings extensions and more.

Tech Tip: Easy Editing for Mac Photos
Apple’s Photos for OS X has a button for one-click improvements to your pictures, but it also includes a toolbox for more detailed adjustments.

Tech Tip: Checking the Delivery Date on That Android Update
If you cannot remember when, or if, you installed the most recent security patch for your Android device, there’s an easy way to find out.

App Smart: Recipe for the Home Bartender: Scroll, Tap, and Pour
Making a good cocktail can be tricky, but many apps can help you become an expert mixologist.

State of the Art: Brands Born Online, Reshaping the Retail Landscape
Dollar Shave Club, recently acquired for $1 billion, typifies online-only companies that have upended traditional models of stores and advertising.

Being Batman at Comic-Con, Virtual Cape and Cowl Provided
At the annual convention, media companies are promoting their movies and television shows with virtual reality.

Critic’s Notebook: A Cute Internet Star Flirts. All He Wants Is Your Password.
Jack Johnson asked his Twitter followers to send him their passwords. And tens of thousands did.

Do-It-Yourself Transit Planning, by App
Apps and other technology could complement mass transit by offering passengers alternative ways to travel from home to a transit stop, then on to their final destination.

Millennials Cash In as Pokémon Sherpas
For underemployed 20-somethings, training newbies in the finer points of Pokémon Go is a fresh career. Or at least, a quick buck.

Nations of the World Confront the Pokémon Menace
As the popular augmented-reality smartphone game expanded to 26 countries, authorities responded with alarm, bans, charges of espionage and at least one fatwa.

Tech Tip: Changing Your Google Account Settings
Google recently changed its ad-tracking practices, but you have a say in whether you want to use the new tools.

Twitter Bars Milo Yiannopoulos in Wake of Leslie Jones’s Reports of Abuse
The action against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart editor, followed a campaign of prolonged abuse against the “Ghostbusters” co-star.

Tech Tip: Making Siri Spell Your Name Right
Apple’s virtual assistant has the ability to learn as it works, but you have ways to correct some of its common mistakes to speed up the process.

Tech Tip: Opening Links in New Windows
Some web pages are coded to automatically open links in new windows, but you can also use keyboard tricks with your mouse clicks to pop open new pages.

Tech Tip: Finding the Right Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office has been around for more than 25 years, and today there are several ways to get the software — including free.

App Smart: Feed Your Olympic Addiction Without Jetting Off to Rio
Follow the Olympic torch, read the history of the Games and catch up on results on a number of apps, some official and some from sports outlets.

Tech Fix: What’s the Right Age to Give a Child a Smartphone?
As more children get phones at 10 and younger, parents face the question of when to allow unfettered access to the internet and all its benefits and perils.

Nest Relies on New Outdoor Security Camera as Comeback
In light of recent upheaval, the company is trying to convey stability as it introduces Nest Cam Outdoor, a waterproof, rugged model of its smart security camera.

How to Make Pokémon Go Actually Useful
Hunting Pokémon can be a fun way to explore a city, though it’s not without its drawbacks. Here are tips on how and where to play as a traveler.

Another Night, Another Shooting on Facebook Live
Three men are badly injured as video streams the gunfire and the aftermath in Norfolk, Va.

Europe Approves New Trans-Atlantic Data Transfer Deal
After years of negotiations, Europe agreed to allow thousands of companies to move digital data to the United States, though challenges still lie ahead.

Tech Tip: Voice Searches With Cortana or Chrome
Microsoft restricted its virtual helper to work only with its Edge browser and Bing search engine, but you can do voice searches right in Google’s browser.

App Smart: Wanderlust by Design: Apps to Help Organize Your Summer Travel
Sidekix, Clarice and Google Translate can help you discover and navigate new cities and sites, and make the most of your time there.

Tech Fix: The Downside to Cord-Cutting
A comparison of popular cable replacement services finds annoyances, like restrictions on content and missing channels.

Where Pokémon Should Not Go
The digital beasts have been reported at Auschwitz and memorials for the Holocaust and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience
The smartphone game shows how a new technology can break through from niche toy for early adopters to go mainstream.

How to Protect Privacy While Using Pokémon Go and Other Apps
The game’s developer made expansive permission requests — in error, it says, and it uses only basic data — but many apps make similar requests.

State of the Art: Live Streaming Breaks Through, and Cable News Has Much to Fear
The Philando Castile shooting and its aftermath have catapulted services like Facebook Live and Periscope into the center of the news, challenging cable to adapt.

Casinos Look to Video Games as a Draw for Millennials
Resorts in Nevada, New Jersey and elsewhere are exploring video game gambling as a way to lure younger visitors to the casinos.

App Smart: A Snooze-Worthy App Collection to Add to the Smartphone
SleepBot, Pillow, Pzizz and mySleepButton are made to put you to sleep.

State of the Art: Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch
The author of “Future Shock” warned about the dangers of rapid change, and many have come to pass, but advance planning has fallen out of favor.

Apple’s iOS 10 Is Available for Beta Testers Who Want a Head Start
Early adopters can try the new messaging app and improved photo software, and they can help the tech giant fix problems before the full release in the fall.

Trilobites: How to Talk to Fireflies
Most fireflies have their own flash pattern to light up at night. A new device tries to get people talking to them.

Tech Tip: Retrieving Your Google Photos
Automatic backup keeps your pictures in the cloud, but you can download copies if you want to edit them with your favorite desktop photo program.

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