Here are four cold, hard realities of the social network's privacy policies -- and what you can do about them.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2014 10:20AM

Using Facebook on iPhoneBy Geoffrey Fowler, The Wall Street Journal


Everyone loves to gripe about privacy on Facebook (FB). Like me, you may have even threatened to quit. But let's be honest -- we're not going to break up with a social network filled with people we care about.


The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyInstead, let's do something real: Get a grip on Facebook's 9,000-word privacy policy and take concrete steps to control our information.


I'm raising the issue because privacy on Facebook just took two steps forward and one step back. These relate to digital tracking, one of the creepiest and most confusing aspects of the social network.


Facebook is following you. It now can use what you do outside its network -- when you surf the Web and use other apps on your smartphone -- to target ads at you. Facebook says it needs the extra data to make its ads better.


At the same time, the company is starting to be more transparent. In a first for any major Internet company, it's offering to explain exactly why you're getting every ad you see and to let you control what kind of ads you will see in the future. They don't make these options very easy to find, however.

 

The Tesla founder calls digital superintelligence 'potentially more dangerous than nukes.' Here are some terrifying scenarios that explain why.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 4, 2014 12:16PM

'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' © REX/Courtesy Everett Collectionquartz on MSN moneyBy Adam Pasick, Quartz


Elon Musk, the Tesla (TSLA) and Space-X founder who is occasionally compared to comic book hero Tony Stark, is worried about a new villain that could threaten humanity -- specifically the potential creation of an artificial intelligence that is radically smarter than humans, with catastrophic results. This weekend, Musk tweeted:  

@elonmusk: Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.
@elonmusk: Hope we're not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.

Musk is talking about "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies" by Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute. The book addresses the prospect of an artificial superintelligence that could feasibly be created in the next few decades. According to theorists, once the AI is able to make itself smarter, it would quickly surpass human intelligence. 


What would happen next? The consequences of such a radical development are inherently difficult to predict. But that hasn't stopped philosophers, futurists, scientists and fiction writers from thinking very hard about some of the possible outcomes. The results of their thought experiments sound like science fiction -- and maybe that's exactly what Elon Musk is afraid of.

 

With new apps geared toward booking business trips, 2 startup stars of the sharing economy aim to tap into corporate travel.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 29, 2014 12:14PM

Businessman using smartphone in back of car © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty ImagesBy Douglas MacMillan and Craig Karmin, The Wall Street Journal


Airbnb and Uber Technologies popularized the concept of a "sharing economy," in which regular consumers share things such as apartments and car rides. Now they are sprucing up their services to appeal to the buttoned-up business traveler.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyThe fast-growing technology startups this week each announced new versions of their apps geared toward booking business trips. Both companies also struck deals with Concur Technologies (CNQR), the expense-reporting software used by more than 20,000 companies.


Appealing to corporate clients would give the young technology companies a toehold in the business travel industry, which is expected to generate $1.21 trillion in revenue worldwide this year, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

 

Hand-carved from an aluminum block, the 128-gigabyte ZX1 resurrects the iconic portable music player -- minus the cassettes -- for premium buyers in search of high-quality audio.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 21, 2014 1:31PM

Models display Sony's digital audio player 'Walkman ZX-1' and a headphone 'MDR-1' © YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Kana Inagaki, The Wall Street Journal


Thirty five years after its debut, Sony's (SNE) Walkman is enjoying a little comeback.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBut while the original cassette player of 1979 heralded the age of mass-market, portable music, the new $700 Walkman is aimed at premium buyers, as technological advances help more audio-on-the go users head upscale.


The ZX1, as Sony's gadget is called, is in many ways the antithesis of Apple's (AAPL) slender iPod, and the Walkman's own svelte predecessors. It has a heavy, bulky body that houses 128 gigabytes of storage for ultra-high-quality music files. Sony says each ZX1 is manually carved from a block of expensive aluminum, which helps reduce noise.


"The message for our designers and engineers was: please create a good product without worrying about the cost," said Kenji Nakada, Sony's sound product planner.

 

Want to cut the cord but don't want to miss out on 'Game of Thrones' or 'True Detective'? Some providers offer an Internet and HBO plan -- if you know how to ask.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2014 4:29PM
Matthew McConaughey, left, and Woody Harrelson from the HBO series 'True Detective' (c) AP Photo/HBO, Michele K. ShortBy Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneySo you're thinking about cutting the cord on cable TV, but worry you'll miss HBO? There's a way to get what you want.


HBO won't sell access to its online streaming service HBO Go directly to consumers. (ESPN, another often-cited reason for why people stick with cable, has the same policy.) To get a login, you must go to a cable TV company, which usually tries to upsell you on a pricey package that includes lots of channels you don't want.


Frustrated, some would-be customers just cut cable and "borrow" an HBO Go login from a friend. (An HBO spokesman says those logins are "limited to those residing in the home.")


But in recent months, many big cable companies have wised up that they might lose a slowly growing niche of cable-cutting customers. Several of them now will sell a package that include just Internet, HBO (and HBO Go) and the most basic of TV. You're not exactly without cable TV, but you're with much, much less of it.

 

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