hodgsonConsulting Newsletter December 2016
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December 14, 2016
December 2016 Newsletter

Consumer Beware!
By Julie Kennon
Did you hear about the guy who walked into a pizza joint with a gun? He was investigating “Pizzagate,” a debunked online conspiracy theory that falls under the very relevant category of fake news proliferated on the internet. In this lightning-fast e-world of ours, every piece of news spreads at breakneck speed. (The president-elect defended his reckless use of Twitter by saying he can communicate with his 17 million-ish followers faster on social media than he could if he were to issue a press release. He’s right.) Anyone can post anything online and it can sweep through the nation, and the world, if enough people care to share it. So what about lies? What about rumors? What if someone makes up an absurd story about a pizza place? What if someone believes it, and decides to seek justice by visiting the restaurant, wading through families and firing a rifle? 

And, more importantly, who is responsible for stemming the tide of fake news, or determining the veracity of every word flung about online? Is it Google? Facebook?

Nope. It’s you. It’s the consumer. Since the days when news traveled by foot or horseback or boat, it’s always been up to the recipient of that news to believe it or not; act on it or not; flee the village or hunker down. Back then, they could be pretty sure the news was real, but they didn’t really know. These days, we can often spot news that is clearly fake, but sometimes even the savviest reader can be swindled.

How can you prevent getting duped? It’s in the details. For me, misspellings shoot off warning flares. If there’s a quote for an often-quoted public figure, google it and see if another reputable source carried the same quote. Is the URL unlike the ones you’ve seen before? Proceed with caution. Check Snopes, a website that debunks rumors. And above all, use your noggin. If it seems ludicrous, it likely is.
Holiday Gadget Guide
Let’s talk gadgets, since the holidays are upon us. And let’s talk fun gadgets, since I use the drafting of this newsletter as an opportunity to do some online shopping while at work. Here are some of my favorite tech-y finds:

The Podo Stick and Shoot Camera costs less than $100 and takes selfies to a whole new level. It’s a little cube that sticks on almost any surface and swivels for the perfect shot. It connects to your smartphone so you can preview the picture before you snap it. And you could pair it with the lightweight, portable HP Sprocket Photo Printer for instant photo satisfaction.

I still think Google Home and the Amazon Echo are cool gifts. These speakers know what you search and what you buy, so they know more about you (for better or worse) than other digital assistants. I love the idea of yelling, “Okay, Google, play me some music!” as I’m cooking dinner, or asking Alexa for a weather forecast.

How about Cozmo, the “robot with personality?” I’ll admit that I can name a few people who would love to cozy up to this cute robot, and they’re not all children. It plays games, recognizes faces and pounces on you. Who knew Pixar’s Wall-E was on to something real?

If you try any of these, report back. I bought the UE2 Boom speaker we talked about in October, so I’ll let you know after Christmas what my husband thinks of it.
Content Management Systems in the Spotlight
And finally, the last major release of the year happened this month with WordPress 4.7. It’s an open-source system we like, so we paid attention. There are some appealing backend updates, but content providers will like locale switching (toolbar switches to the language of the locale in which the content is displayed), improved video support and PDF previews.  

Ektron, a Hodgson partner, released version 9.2 in late November. This release increased platform and browser support, upgraded the search functionality and added more than 100 cumulative updates and three service packs. Thumbs up to both of these systems…we like the changes! As always, if you want to know more about CMSs or want to talk about enhancing your internet presence, don't hesitate to contact us. Happiest of holidays to you!

Copyright © 2016 hodgsonConsulting, All rights reserved.

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