January 28 – February 3, 2013

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This week’s headline story: An all New Office arrives!

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 9.41.25 AMMicrosoft has released Office 2013 featuring user interface updates, and support for touch devices like Microsoft’s Surface tablet. Microsoft also released Office 365, a cloud-based extension to Office 2013 that features online versions of Office apps and 20 GB of cloud storage on SkyDrive. Office 365 is a unique subscription service that provides the latest version of Office for up to 5 PCs or Macs for $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month. The student version runs $79.99 per year for two PCs or Macs. Office 365 automatically maintains and upgrades Office apps when updates are available. The new cross platform, cloud-based office makes it possible to work in Office online or offline, utilizing either the installed apps or the cloud apps, storing documents in the cloud for shared access across PCs, Macs, tablets, and smart phones. What’s next for Microsoft Office? A new version of Office is in the works for the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. Soon Office will be everywhere, giving Microsoft a competitive edge over cloud-based competitors like Google Docs.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • The much-talked-about TV ads that run during the SuperBowl provide CBS with an average of $3 million per 30 second spot. This year CBS put a much greater emphasis on what it calls its “second screen” at CBSSports.com extending its coverage and commercials online. It is estimated that 36 percent of those who watched the game on TV, simultaneously utilized non-TV devices like tablets and smart phones. To cater to those viewers, CBS provided four live camera angles streaming on CBSSports.com, including a full-field view and a “fan choice” camera. To keep viewers from switching to Facebook and Twitter, CBSSports also provided live Twitter and Facebook feeds. And of course CBSSports.com featured plenty of advertisements which it hopes will bring in an additional $10 to $12 million – a small but growing percentage of its total revenue.

    The Super Bowl’s Second Screen [MIT Tech Review]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • The New York Times is reporting that it was attacked by Chinese hackers after publishing an article about the relatives of China’s prime minister accumulating billions of dollars through government business dealings. Security experts hired by The Times tracked the attackers to China and recognized the methods as being associated with the Chinese military. In response to the allegations, China’s Ministry of National Defense said, “Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages Internet security.” It added that “to accuse the Chinese military of launching cyberattacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless.” Shortly after the Times reported it’s security breach, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported that their computer networks were also penetrated by Chinese hackers. Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton commented that in recent years there has been “an increase in not only the hacking attempts on government institutions but also nongovernmental ones,” adding that the Chinese “are not the only people who are hacking us.” Clinton is calling for a global effort to establish rules for cyberactivity.

    Hackers in China Attacked The Times for Last 4 Months [NYTimes]

    Wall Street Journal Announces That It, Too, Was Hacked by the Chinese [NYTimes]

    Washington Post Joins List of News Media Hacked by the Chinese [NYTimes]

    Hacked by Chinese, NY Times Says; Are There Others? [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Research in Motion unveiled the first BlackBerry phone designed for the long awaited Blackberry 10 OS. The new OS embraces the multimedia, apps and touch-screen experience prevalent on today’s smartphones. It promises to handle multitasking better than either the iPhone or Android, and allows users to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone. Research in Motion also announced that it is changing its corporate name to Blackberry, demonstrating its commitment to the handset that many analysts had written off. BlackBerry phones plummeted from 46 percent of the market in 2008 to 2 percent in 2012. Blackberry is releasing two new models in hopes of saving its business – one with the traditional Blackberry keyboard, and the other with a larger display and display-based keyboard.

    Long-Overdue BlackBerry Makeover: Worth the Wait? [NewsFactor]

    Is the Time Ripe for BlackBerry? [Ecommerce Times]
  • Apple closed out 2012 as the top seller of smartphones in the U.S. beating out Samsung in the 4th quarter for the first time in four years. Apple’s sale of iPhones in the fourth quarter was up 38 percent from the same quarter in 2011, to 17.7 million.

    Apple Reigns as Top U.S. Phone Seller in Q4 [NewsFactor]
  • Apple announced a 128-GB version of the fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display. The new model doubles the capacity of the previous top-end model and provides an alternative to notebooks for storing and viewing HD movies.

    Apple Offers iPad for Conspicuous Consumption [NYTimes]

and finally….

  • It’s true that cameras are everywhere, and facial recognition software is increasingly being used by law enforcers, shops and social media to identify people and track their movements. Now a pair of glasses dubbed the “privacy visor” has been developed to thwart hidden cameras using facial-recognition software. The glasses use near-infrared light to confuse facial recognition software without affecting vision. If you aren’t into geeky light-up glasses, an alternative solution is provided by the hacktivist group Anonymous. Tilting your head at a 15 degree angle fools facial recognition software into thinking you do not have a face.

    ‘Privacy visor blocks facial recognition software’ [BBC]

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