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Tech News Today for August 24, 2016

Tech News for August 24, 2016

Last we heard that McDonalds was stepping up its health game by handing out plastic fitness trackers with its happy meals. Now 29 million of the colorful "Step It!" trackers are being recalled after reports ranging from skin irritations to blistering and burns on kids who wore the free wearable. "Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers," said a McDonald's representative. Read more at cnet.com.

One of Google’s Project Fi features that makes the service frugal for its users is something called Wi-Fi Assistant. It’s what has allowed Project Fi phones to recognize vetted open Wi-Fi access points across the country and connect Fi devices to them automatically. Doing so cuts down on mobile data usage and in a perfect world, this all happens without the user ever needing to do anything or noticing that anything changed. Google today announced that it is bringing this feature to Nexus devices in the coming weeks as well, in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and Nordic countries. Read more at theverge.com.

Today is the fifth anniversary of Steve Job's resignation from Apple, which seems to be as good a time as any for all of us armchair quarterbacks to decide whether or not Tim Cook has filled Jobs' shoes. First the good news -- Apple as a company is much more socially responsible. According to interviews with employees, CNN says the company has been better about highlighting LGBT rights, philanthropy, corporate diversity, renewable energy and improving manufacturing conditions abroad. But the bad news is that the company hasn't come out with a visionary product since the iPad. In fact, the only real new product they've released is the Apple Watch, which many argue is lackluster, at best. Read more at cnn.com.

The Opera browser released a free VPN app for Android, and it's worth taking a minute to look at what’s happening behind the scenes before jumping on board. First the good news: It’s free, unlimited, and can be routed through points in the US, Canada, Germany, Singapore and The Netherlands to start with. It also has a way to block ad trackers. But Opera’s business model as of late is largely as an ad network, with revenue generated from Operas mobile ad services and technology meaning Opera serves ads to you within their free VPN. On top of that, it's worth knowing that Opera underwent a major buyout by a group of Chinese investors a few months back, and some question the motivation behind that acquisition. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Bryan Clark of The Next Web. They'll be talking about the devices used to stream the Olympics, an Earth-like planet that was recently discovered, and a few simple modifications that can turn a Game Boy into a drone controller. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. Subscribe to the show or stream it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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