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Google Arts app goes viral with new match-me-to-a-classic-painting feature

My, how impressionistic you are

If you’ve got a Facebook or Twitter account or are into painting, you’ve probably seen your friends posting up selfies that Google’s suddenly wildly popular Arts and Culture app is matching up with artwork hanging in museums. If there was ever a way to get people to interested in the old masters – or just old paintings in general – the folks at Google just found it.

The app was initially released in 2015 but was updated with the arty match-up feature just over a month ago. Google says the app has been downloaded over 5 million times. People are having a lot of fun with it – with the exception of users in Illinois and Texas. The Chicago Tribune says that both states have laws against using biometrics, or the specific details of a persons’ face, fingerprints, DNA or other non-changeable characteristics.

Several companies have actually gotten on the wrong side of the law over using the data, such as Nest, which uses biometrics to identify people who ring their smart doorbell camera. That feature isn’t present in doorbell cameras sold in Illinois. Want to see who you look like?

The little app that can (tell you if there’s a problem)

Computer operating system makers like Microsoft, Apple and Linux developers have been scrambling to patch up their bits following revelations that many computer chips used as CPUs have severe vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre. The OS patches are delivered by software updates, which seem to rain down on us with ever-increasing frequency, so how can you tell if your PC is updated and safe? Well, naturally, there’s an app for that.

Gibson Research has released “InSpectre”, a simple and super-lightweight app that has a quick meeting with your OS software to see if it’s updated and then gives you simple answers like Yes… or No. And it will also do a quick test to see your computer is taking a performance hit due to the patch.

If you need even more detailed information, that’s there too, but the good news is that the app is super tiny – like one tenth of a megabyte. Safely download it directly from Gibson here.

No wifi = dumb home

Just as Google’s ever-expanding line of smarthome products like the Google Home Max appeared to be taking over techie homes everywhere comes word that some people are experiencing problems with their wifi networks due to some of the products. According to Android Police, the problems first popped up a few months ago with the Nexus Player, then the Max super-speaker started knocking out networks.

There have also been reports that some Chromecast devices are causing problems. It’s not a widespread problem and it also appears some routers are more susceptible than others, but if you recently added a smarthome device to your ever-more-crowded home wifi network and are having problems with it crashing, you should hit this link a possible diagnosis and workaround.

Software patches are beginning to pop up as well, and we’ll keep you updated on the problem – and the solutions.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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