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Do the Benefits of Domestic Drones Outweigh Privacy Drawbacks?

Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to open up airspace to unmanned aircraft by October 2015, a decision that will likely see thousands of domestic drones soaring the sky. Many are excited about the many innovative possibilities of the autonomous technology, including its potential to track wildfires, find and rescue people, identify criminals, or map terrain. Opponents and privacy advocates, however, are concerned that they may be used for surveillance purposes and deployed to snoop on law-abiding citizens.

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Does RSS Still Matter?

Reactions ranged from outrage to apathy when Google announced that it would be shutting down its Google Reader RSS client. The search giant said that the move was due to a decline in usage. Some fans of the 'Reader' and RSS cite its centralized features and its way of organizing a user's content. Others say that RSS is confusing, and has now been replaced by new ways of receiving content, such as Twitter and other social networks. While supporters of the technology say the Google Reader exit provides an opportunity for a revitalized market for RSS products, some think its absence will hurt RSS's chances of making a comeback.

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Does Telecommuting Restrict Innovation and Productivity?

A Yahoo Inc. internal memo, which introduced a ban on working from home, has set off a debate on whether "telecommuting" and working remotely leads to greater productivity and job satisfaction, or kills creativity and is just a chance to take it easy. Supporters of this kind of ban say that the best decisions come from in-person discussion, and that remote work is often done slowly and less carefully. Many telecommuters, however, say that a remote arrangement helps people with young families or those facing long and expensive commutes. A restriction could also undermine employee trust, as working is not necessarily done in the standard 9-5 hours anymore

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Will Privacy Concerns Keep You from Using Google Glass?

As many users anticipate the arrival of Google Glass, augmented reality technology shaped like a pair of glasses, some technologists are questioning the privacy issues associated with the use of these wearable computers. Many express concern about users' ability to secretly capture audio and video. Google Glass, some fear, is another way of trading privacy and personal information for convenience. Others, however, say that the use of a smartphone's email, maps, and cameras are already a part of our everyday lives, and putting that functionality in wearable technology is inevitable.

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Will Telepresence Robots Become Commonplace over the Next Decade?

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared iRobot's RP-VITA telepresence robot for operation in hospitals. Controlled by an iPad interface, the RP-VITA allows doctors to virtually "visit" patients and staff remotely. Similarly, it was reported this month that a boy with severe allergies was able to attend class via a robot with a wireless video hookup. Other telepresence applications are possible in the business world; workers, for example, can use the technology to virtually pop into the office, even while travelling.

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As the Fitness Technology Market Expands, Will You Use New Personal Fitness/Health Devices?

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas had 25 percent more booths related to digital health and fitness technology compared to the previous year's event. Showcased products included headsets that provide health readings, apps that track calories and medical histories, and emergency alert systems that can be worn like a pendant. Over 215 health- and fitness-related exhibitors were on the CES floor, and according to the CEA, the fit tech industry expects to see over 300 million body sensors in use by 2016.

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Will Wearable Computing Replace the Smartphone over the Next Decade?

The New York Times reported last week that Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass. Although these kinds of "smartwatches" do not yet have the market that tablets and smartphones do, consumers have shown some interest in buying them.

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