January 21 – 27, 2013

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This week’s headline story: IBM Predicts Cognitive Computers Are the Wave of the Future

AIAt the start of each year, IBM selects a new innovation that has the potential to change the world. This year IBM chose cognitive computers as the next big thing! Cognitive computers will be designed to mimic the human senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Cognitive computers will be able to learn and adapt. Bernie Meyerson, IBM vice president of innovation, predicts that Moore’s Law, which states that processors essentially double in power every two years, will exhaust itself over the next few generations of processors. Cognitive computers will emerge within the next five years to drive computer performance where Moore’s law leaves off. Cognitive computers will perform better than today’s computers because they learn, they adapt, they sense — and because of their own intelligence they don’t require the same level of detailed programming. Read the interview with Meyerson yourself by clicking the link in the show notes.

IBM Predicts Cognitive Systems As New Computing Wave [investors.com]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • A recently installed undersea fiber cable bundle is now in use between Venezuela and Cuba. The $70 million, 994-mile Internet cable has been operational since August, but has so far been utilized only by the Cuban government. It’s not clear when, or if, Cuban citizens will see any benefit. Cuba, which has so far withheld Internet access from its citizens, sits roughly 100 miles off the Florida coast, and is unable to connect to the Internet through the US due to the embargo.

    Cuba confirms Alba-1 fiber hook-up to Venezuela, internet remains on lockdown [Engadget]

  • The days of unlocking cell phones to run on unauthorized carriers may be over. An edict from the Library of Congress makes it illegal to unlock phones purchased after January 26. Offenders may be liable under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits the “circumvention” of copy protection schemes.

    Unlocking new cell phones to become illegal on Saturday [Ars Technica]

  • The White House Office of Science Technology and Policy has announced the National Day of Civic Hacking on June 1 and 2. It’s calling the holiday “an opportunity for software developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to unleash their can-do American spirit by collaboratively harnessing publicly-released data and code to create innovative solutions for problems that affect Americans.”

    White House announces ‘National Day of Civic Hacking’ [PCWorld]

  • A bipartisan group of senators is poised to introduce a high-skilled immigration bill that would significantly increase the number of H-1B visas available to skilled foreign-born workers. The bill, if passed, would provide opportunities for foreign engineers and computer programmers to claim abundant unfilled positions in the U.S. that tech companies, including Microsoft and Intel, have complained that they struggle to fill.

    Bipartisan group of senators to introduce high-skilled immigration bill [The Hill]

  • Corning has developed a process for manufacturing thin flexible glass that can be rolled on tubes like paper in lengths measured in hundreds of yards. The process is the first major step in bringing flexible glass to affordable consumer products such as cell phones and electronic bracelets. The next step in bringing flexible glass to the mass market is to build a production machine that can transfer the flexible glass from spools to existing production line equipment built to handle traditional hard and brittle glass. Corning is working on just such a machine.

    Glass That Bends the Rules of Manufacturing [MIT Tech Review]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • A “cyber 9/11” is an imminent threat to the U.S. says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. She believes a coordinated terrorist cyberattack could effectively shut down the country, and more needs to be done to prepare. The statement was made in hopes of getting Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill, prior to President Obama needing to sign an executive order.

    Homeland Security Warns Cyber 9/11 Could Shut Down US [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally….

  • It’s the death of an operating system. Nokia’s Symbian OS which was once the leader of mobile handset operating systems, has been installed on its last device. The Nokia 808 PureView was the last Symbian device from Nokia.

    Nokia 808 PureView: officially the last Symbian phone [Engadget]

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January 14 – 20, 2013

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This week’s headline story: Facebook Graph Search

facebook-graph-searchFacebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a new feature coming to Facebook. It’s called Graph Search, and Zuckerberg described it as an integral part of the product, a third pillar, along with the newsfeed and timeline. Using Graph Search, Facebook users will be able to search all of their connections – what Facebook calls their graph, in order to find people, places, photos, and items of interests. So for example, a Facebook user could search for Mexican restaurants in Tucson recommended by friends, places in Ireland that their friends visited, or bands that are most popular with friends. Graph search will also provide search results outside your graph courtesy of Microsoft Bing. While some are proclaiming this the future of search, others are predicting major issues around privacy, and ugly unintended consequences. The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends that concerned Facebook users utilize the “Who can see my stuff?” feature and click “View as” to see how their Facebook profile and timeline appears to the public and to the various people in their groups of friends.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • You may recall a couple years ago when Kansas City MO won the privileged of serving as host to a new super-fast Internet service courtesy of Google. With that network now in place, Internet startups are flocking to Kansas City is take advantage of gigabit Internet speeds, giving the city the nickname “Silicon Prairie.”Google’s Ultrafast Internet Creates ‘Silicon Prairie’ [NewsFactor]
  • San Jose State University is signing a deal with the Massively Open Online Course company Udacity, to deliver a series of remedial and introductory courses to its students. San Jose State and other California State colleges are looking to MOOCs as a solution to the issue of an increasing number of incoming students who are unable to meet basic college entrance requirements.California to Give Web Courses a Big Trial [NYTimes]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • One year to the minute after the FBI shut down file sharing service Megaupload, the Internet tycoon that owned the service, Kim Dotcom, held a huge party at his mansion in New Zealand to celebrate the opening of his new service, simply named Mega. Mega is a cloud storage service that encrypts the data users upload giving the user the encryption key. So only the user, and those the user selects to share files with, can access files. Not even Mega knows or can find out what users are storing on its servers. Mega will force governments to seriously consider the level of responsibility Internet companies maintain for users activities on the Internet. It is likely that the movie industry and the FBI will be examining Mega closely to determine if the service is encouraging the illegal sharing of copyright protected property.A Year After the Closing of Megaupload, a File-Sharing Tycoon Opens a New Site [NYTimes]
  • Google researchers think that two-step identity verification isn’t secure enough. They are investigating the use of physical passwords, which might come in the form of a piece of jewelry such as a ring. Imagine being logged onto your computer and all of your web services automatically by the ring on your finger.Google sees one password ring to rule them all [Computerworld]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • AI expert and singularity evangelist Ray Kurzweil has taken the job of Director of Engineering at Google. Kurzweil has revealed details around an upcoming AI project at Google, focused on helping computers to better understand human language.Ray Kurzweil lifts lid on Google AI project [ZDNet]
  • Google is planning to bring it’s voice-recognition feature to Chrome browser. Soon users of Chrome on all platforms will be able to dictate to their Chrome browser and Web apps.Google Bringing Voice Recognition to Chrome Web Browser [NewsFactor]
  • Google has filed for a patent for a laser-projected keyboard on its Google Glasses which would project a keyboard on a surface allowing users to enter data by pressing virtual keys.Patent Filed for Laser-Projected Keypad with Google Glasses [NewsFactor]
  • Google is hosting two hackathons – one in San Francisco and the other in New York, where hackers will get a crack at creating apps for Google glasses.Google Glass Hackathons Unveiled to Further Develop the Technology [eWeek]
  • eBay received a much needed breath of life with its recently released mobile app. The app supports the popular activity of “showrooming” where shoppers in retail stores can check prices of items on eBay and make online purchases through eBay’s paypal service in under 30 seconds. eBay’s revenue jumped 18 percent to US$3.99 billion for the quarter after the release of the app.Showrooming Shoppers Send eBay Soaring [Ecommerce Times]

and finally….

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January 7 – 13, 2013

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This week’s headline story: CES 2013

ces2013The Consumer Electronics show, better known as CES, took place last week in Las Vegas. The annual event provides a peek at new technologies and soon-to-be-released technology products. Among this years most notable CES exhibits were:

  • lots of bigger and smarter TVs with ultrahigh definition
  • a new line of more powerful processors from Qualcomm that will allow mobile phones to record ultra-HD video
  • a new 8-CORE processor from Samsung for mobile devices
  • gesture controls for automobile systems
  • wrist watches that act as remote controls to mobile phones.
  • and a host of other less serious products such as Parrot’s Flower Power, the Hapifork, and the iPotty.

Read about all of these innovations by following the links in the show notes.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • The FCC has announced that it will open a new batch of wireless spectrum to bring faster and more reliable access to public WiFi hotspots. The commission will free up 190 Mhz of spectrum, the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for WiFi since 2003. The additional spectrum will be especially useful for crowded locations like airports, sporting events, and convention centers.
    FCC Aims to Expand WiFi Highway [Ecommerce Times]
  • A private delegation including Google’s Eric Schmidt made a visit to North Korea on what they described as a humanitarian mission. The group received tours of North Korean facilities and called for Internet openness for North Korea’s citizens, a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, and humane treatment for an American citizen detained there. The visit has been criticized for appearing to hijack U.S. diplomacy and boost Pyongyang’s profile after North Korea’s latest, widely condemned rocket launch.
    Google’s Schmidt Calls for Open Internet in North Korea [NewsFactor]
  • We’ve all become accustomed to finding and downloading new apps to our mobile phones. Soon we may be downloading apps to our car. GM and Ford have announced new software development kits – or SDKs for software developers to use to create apps that interact with in-vehicle controls, displays, voice-recognition features and other vehicle systems.
    Ford Motor Rolls Out Red Carpet for App Developers [NewsFactor]
    GM and Ford Open Up Their Vehicles to App Developers [Technology Review]

and in Information Security news this week…

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Struggling former mobile handset king Nokia may be experiencing something of a comeback thanks to sales of its Windows-based Lumia handsets. Last year Nokia implemented a last ditch strategy to stay afloat by replacing its outdated Symbian phones with phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Now, with the release of Windows Phone 8, the strategy is being tested for the first time, as Nokia together with Microsoft struggle to stay competitive against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android products.
    Lumia Sales, Surprisingly, Boost Nokia’s Revenue [NewsFactor]
  • Microsoft has reasserted its dominance in the enterprise with a $617 million deal with the US Department of Defense. Under the three-year deal, the Air Force, Army and Defense Information Systems Agency will have access to software including Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 Enterprise and Windows 8. The DoD says the deal will help streamline costs and foster inter-agency collaboration.
    Microsoft Defends Enterprise Turf With Big Pentagon Deal [Ecommerce Times]

and finally….

  • Showrooming is the name given to the practice of visiting stores in order to try out products that you intend to purchase online. Retail giant Target is taking a stance against showrooming by offering to match the price of any online deal that shoppers may discover while in Target stores.
    Target Fights Showrooming With Price-Matching Scheme [Ecommerce Times]

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January 1 – 6, 2013

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Mobile devices steal the show Christmas day

image from savidtech.com
image from savidtech.com

Device activations and software downloads indicate that tablets and mobile phones were a hot items for Christmas presents. In the weeks leading up to Christmas new activations for mobile devices averaged 4 million a day. On Christmas day there were a a jaw-dropping 17.4 million activations. Mobile software downloads soared in the week following Christmas when smartphone and tablet owners downloaded a record 1.76 billion iOS and Android apps.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Soon your mobile phone will be able to act as your life coach. Researchers at Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory are developing an app that uses a mobile phone’s GPS and other local information to monitor the users environment, and reactions to the environment every minute of every day creating a life “narrative” to determine what the researchers describe as “meaningful events” – those combinations which trigger stress and strong emotion. The app analyzes those meaningful events and suggests ways to alter behavior to lead a longer, and healthier life.Can your phone double up as your life-coach? [University of Cambridge]
  • A new type of interface is coming to Asus PCs and Tablets later this year. Asus announces that it will be bundling Leap Motion’s gestural interface with some models of its computers. Rather than using a mouse or touchpad, users can use Leap Motion to control screen action with hand gestures. Check out the video in the show notes.Leap’s Gestural Controls Coming to Some Asus PCs, Tablets [News Factor]This Tiny Gizmo Could Be A Very Big Deal In 2013 – And Beyond [ReadWrite]

    Video: Introducing Leap Motion [YouTube]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • Microsoft has confirmed a zero-day bug in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8. A zero day bug is one that is actively being used by attackers to take over computers. Microsoft has posted a quick-fix on its support site, but has not announced a permanent fix in this week’s patch Tuesday.Microsoft Issues Fixit [Computerworld]Quick fix [Microsoft Support]

    Microsoft to patch Windows 8, but stays mum on IE zero-day fix [Computerworld]

  • A number of companies are adopting tactics long used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to turn the tables on hackers. Companies are salting their servers with fake data, such as bogus user log-ins and passwords and phony system configuration files. They hope to frustrate hackers who will have to work much harder to find and verify real data.To thwart hackers, firms salting their servers with fake data [Washington Post]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • After an investigation that lasted nearly 2 years, the Federal Trade Commission has declared that Google DOES NOT illegally stifle competition. However Google will have to allow competitors access to some standard technologies, and will have to provide advertisers more flexibility to manage advertising campaigns on Google’s AdWords platform and on rival ad platforms. Just prior to the verdict, Microsoft lawyers reiterated their plea to the FTC to crack down on Google which they said abuses its dominance of Internet search, as well as its leadership in online video and smartphones, to thwart its rivals to the ultimate detriment of consumers.Google, US FTC settle antitrust case [Computerworld]Google Gets A Pass in U.S. Antitrust Investigation [TechReview]

    Microsoft Renews Plea for Crackdown on Google [NewsFactor]

  • Elsewhere in litigation news, an Oakland judge has ruled against Apple saying that it is fine for Amazon to use the term Appstore.Amazon’s ‘Appstore’ Marketing Doesn’t Imitate Apple, Judge Rules [NewsFactor]
  • Anyone out their using the Ubuntu operating system? Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux for personal computers. Canonical, the maker of Ubuntu, has announced that a version of Ubuntu will soon be released for smartphones to provide an alternative to Android – the other Linux-based mobile OS.Canonical Announces Ubuntu for Smartphones [NewsFactor]

and finally….

  • Well, it’s official! Technology is good for humanity! How do we know? Rock star Bono says so. In an interview with MIT’s Technology Review, Bono said that Technology is the key to eradicating disease and extreme poverty. Read the interview yourself by following the link in the show notes.Bono Sings the Praises of Technology [TechReview]

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December 24 – 31, 2012

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This week’s headline story: Top Tech News of 2012

All of the technology news agencies have published their list of the top tech news stories of 2012. You can read several by using the links in the show notes. According to the articles, 2012 will be remembered as

  • the year Microsoft launched Windows 8, creating a unified system across PCs, tablets, and mobile phones,
  • it was the year of BIG DATA – a term that became the tech buzzword of the year, as companies struggle to analyze and utilize zettabytes of the data generated by consumers online,
  • it was the year of the Massively Open Online Course or MOOC – the other tech buzz-term of the year, starting with just a few colleges offering a few courses to dozens of colleges offering thousands of courses online for free,
  • 2012 was the year Facebook went public, with an over-inflated stock price which eventually stabilized at a little less than half its original price,
  • it was the year that the Stop Online Piracy Act known as SOPA was stopped with the help of massive online protests,
  • it was the year Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and others released smaller 7″ tablets,
  • it was also the year Microsoft released its own tablet named Surface,
  • 2012 was the year Apple maps launched and failed,
  • and the year of Apple vs. Samsung in a seemingly never-ending copyright court battle,
  • it was the year Instagram took off
  • and Nintendo took the next step in console gaming with the released of the Wii U
  • 2012 was the year of the first social-media-focused presidential election
  • it was the year “mobile went global” with global smartphone shipments increasing by 45 percent over 2011,
  • and the year Samsung became the dominant mobile phone manufacturer, pushing Android to the top of the mobile OS market

That’s 2012 in a nutshell. 2013 promises to be an amazing year for tech innovation, so be sure to stay tuned.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich has employed over 40 engineers and scientists to construct the next generation humanoid robot. Roboy is a tendon-driven robot, so it will move almost as elegantly as a human. Roboy will be covered with “soft skin,” making interacting with him safer and more pleasant. Roboy’s birthday is scheduled for sometime in September.
    Advanced humanoid Roboy to be ‘born’ in nine months [Kurzweil]
  • The huge demand for Netflix movies on Christmas eve, crashed Netflix servers and left many looking for alternative sources for entertainment. The outage reflects poorly on Amazon and its cloud computing service on which Netflix depends. While Netflix is blaming Amazon for the outage, some analysts think Netflix should be responsible for its own servers.
    Grinch Hits Netflix on Christmas Eve; Net Services Blamed [NewsFactor]
    When Amazon Fails, the Buck Stops at Netflix [Ecommerce Times]
  • The 20-year-old man responsible for the horrific murder of 27 people — including 20 children — in Newtown, Conn., was reportedly a fan of first-person shooter games. That fact has caused game companies to tread lightly these days. Game maker, Electronic Arts has removed links from its “Medal of Honor” Web site, to makers of real weapons who partner with EA to have their weapons featured in the game.
    EA Removes Gun Vendor Links on Medal of Honor Site [NewsFactor]
  • The Pew Research Center reports that the number of consumers aged 16 and over who read e-books rose from 16 percent to 23 percent over the course of 2012. During that same period, the number who read printed books fell from 72 percent to 67 percent.
    More Americans Are Turning Page to E-Books, Pew Survey Finds [NewsFactor]
  • While the number of murders in NYCity reached a record low in 2012, theft is on the rise. The culprit? The iPhone! Criminals swiped 3,890 more iPhones, iPads and other Apple products this year than they did last year.
    iPhones Blamed for N.Y. Crime Wave [NewsFactor]
    Murder rate in New York City hits a record low with 414 homicides in 2012 [NYDaily News]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • A new Android phone spam attack has been discovered. The mobile malware arrives as a text message offering free versions of popular games. When launched it infects the phone with software that spews thousands of virulent text messages to live phone numbers each day. The malware can ring up quite a phone bill for users that don’t have unlimited texting.
    Beware: Android Virus Uses Phone To Spread Spam [NewsFactor]
  • McAfee is predicting that the development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransom-ware technologies that will “lock up” a phone or tablet and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid, will be a prominent trend in 2013.
    McAfee Says Beware of Ransom-Ware Attacks in 2013 [NewsFactor]
  • Iran has reported a number of new cyberattacks aimed at industrial computer systems used at power plants and other industries, as well as at a Culture Ministry information center. Iran is implicating the US and Israel in the attacks.
    Iran Reports Attacks on Computer Systems [NewsFactor]
  • China’s new leadership apparently shares its predecessors’ anxiety about the Internet’s potential to spread opposition. China’s legislature has taken up a measure that would require all users to register online with their real names, so all activity can be more easily traced to the responsible individual.
    China Tightening Controls on Internet [NewsFactor]
  • Newly released documents reveal a secret NSA program named Perfect Citizen, which conducts “vulnerability exploration and research” against the computerized controllers at “large-scale” utilities including power grids and natural gas pipelines. It is assumed that the program is used to test the strength of the U.S. critical infrastructure, and to search for vulnerabilities in the systems owned by U.S enemies.
    Revealed: NSA targeting domestic computer systems in secret test [cnet]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google Apps is beginning to win big adoptions at Microsoft’s expense. Several large global companies and organizations have recently switched from Microsoft Office to Google Apps. The list includes the Swiss drug maker Hoffmann-La Roche, where more than 80,000 employees are now using Google Apps, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, where 90,000 use it. Google Vice President Amit Singh, head of the tech giant’s Enterprise unit, says that Google’s current goal is to win over the 90 percent of Microsoft Office users who don’t require advanced word processing features. Meanwhile, Google plans to continue improving its online apps by adding more features to better compete with Microsoft Office.
    Google Aims to Snag 90% of Microsoft Office Users [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft Hit by a Bolt from Google’s Cloud [NewsFactor]
  • A rumor too interesting to pass up, provided by Tech163.com, claims that supply chain sources have leaked details about a collaboration between Apple and Intel to create an iWatch – a wrist watch that is Bluetooth-enabled with a 1.5-inch OLED display.
    Apple, Intel Rumored Working on an iWatch [NewsFactor]

and finally….

  • Callie Schweitzer, director of marketing at Vox Media, is in trouble with the Zucherberg family for posting a private photo on Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg’s older sister, Randi, posted a family photo for her friends to view on Facebook, and Callie, thinking it was a public photo, shared it with her 40,000 Twitter followers. Randie called the move “way uncool” and chastised Callie for the social faux pas. Randi tweeted about digital etiquette. She wrote, “Always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.” Lesson learned.
    Zuckerberg’s Sister Learns Facebook Privacy the Hard Way [NewsFactor]

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December 17 – 23, 2012

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This week’s headline story: Holiday Deliveries Overtax Shippers

Holiday shopping online is expected to have risen 17 percent this holiday season to a record $43.4 billion, according to comScore. The convenience of shopping online and special deals offered by online merchants, including FREE SHIPPING make a compelling argument for shoppers to stay home and shop, rather than fighting the traffic and crowds at the mall. With the big increase in delivery orders, shipping companies are straining under the demand, and some promises to get gifts delivered by Christmas have gone unfulfilled. A snow storm over much of the Midwest has further complicated holiday deliveries. Online merchants are getting an earful from frustrated shoppers who were forced to tell family and friends that their gifts are “in the mail.” After waiting and waiting, some shoppers headed to the mall after all, planning to return those shipped items when ever they arrive.

All We Want for Christmas Is Our Gifts on Time! [NewsFactor]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • A research team from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has developed technologies that have empowered a paralyzed woman to operate a robotic arm directly through thought with a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb.
    Mind-controlled robotic arm has skill and speed of human limb [Reuters]
  • Researchers at Intel labs are developing a “touchpad steering” wheel. Touch-sensitive areas of a vehicle’s steering wheel allow a driver to call up a head-up display on the windshield, to control every device in the vehicle including turn signals, wipers, headlights, cruise control, entertainment, and GPS. The interface is intended to do away with all of the dials, buttons, and levers on the dash and steering column, and allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
    Touchpad steering wheel keeps eyes on the road [NewScientist]
  • 3D printers are in the news a lot these days, as this amazing technology has become more affordable. Now a group called Defense Distributed is illuminating the more controversial aspects of 3D printing. The group claims to have created downloadable weapon parts that can be built on the latest generation of 3D printers. Owners of these printers can simply downloading a gun’s design plans, print it, assemble it, and fire it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked.
    Scary But True: Click, Print, Shoot Downloadable Guns [NewsFactor]
  • Twice as many Americans own tablets today as a year ago. Roughly 19 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 now own at least one tablet. Forrester Research says that many people purchase tablets because of the “simplified computing experience” and affordable price. Purchases of traditional e-readers like the Kindle are dropping, as increasing amounts of shoppers are choosing more advanced tablets like the Kindle Fire.
    U.S. Tablet Ownership Doubled this Year [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally….

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December 10 – 16, 2012

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Today’s headline story: International Internet Treaty FAIL

wcit3A global showdown of sorts took place over an international treaty on the Internet at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai last week. 193 countries were in attendance, hoping to revise an international treaty that had not been updated since 1988 — before the World Wide Web. The meeting ended in a stalemate when Western countries led by a powerhouse U.S. delegation refused to sign a treaty that would have given governing power of the Internet to the United Nations. Eastern governments including China, Russia, Iran, Gulf Arab states, African nations and others — favored U.N. backing for stronger government sway over Internet affairs and claimed the Western dominance of the Internet needed to be addressed. Internet governance is currently managed by predominantly U.S. organizations. The stalemate is good news for those interested in keeping the Internet free of governmental interference.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • FCC Chairman Julius Genochowski is urging the FAA to allow travelers to use electronic devices during entire flights including take-off and landing. These devices “empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost U.S. competitiveness,” Genochowski says.
    FCC Asks FAA To Allow Mobile Device Use on Planes [NewsFactor]
  • The FTC has fired a shot over the bow of mobile app companies with a report titled “Mobile Apps for Kids — Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade.” The FTC reports that software companies are still not properly reporting on what information they’re children’s apps collect from users. It has launched multiple nonpublic investigations to determine whether mobile app developers have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or engaged in unfair or deceptive trade practices in violation of the FTC Act.
    FTC: Mobile Apps Haven’t Come Clean on Use of Kids’ Data [Ecommerce Times]
  • Facebook will be rolling out new Privacy Tools to its members over the next few weeks. The new tools are designed to make privacy settings more apparent and easy to access. They include privacy shortcuts, and an easy way to review photos in which you are tagged. Even a button to request a photo to be removed.
    Facebook Overhauls Privacy Controls [NewsFactor]
  • A bill, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, seeks to put an end to cyber stalking apps. Cyber stalking apps like ePhoneTracker, when installed on a mobile phone, make it possible for a stalker to track your every movement.
    Cyberstalking Apps Targeted by Senate [NewsFactor]
  • A team of British scientists have developed a new graphics codec that could mean the end of pixels. Rather than creating images from a grid of pixels, the new codec presents an image using contoured colours. The new codec fills in the space between the pixels providing a much higher quality image.
    Is the pixel about to die? [BATH University News]

and in Information Security news this week…

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google Maps App has returned to the iPhone. Apple removed Google Map from iOS in its last upgrade, and replaced it with its own maps app which includes turn-by-turn navigation. Apple’s map app has been criticized for embarrassing bugs. Google’s new map app for iPhone is getting rave reviews and includes turn-by-turn navigation.
    Google Maps App Returns to Apple’s iPhone [NewsFactor]

and finally….

  • Happy Computer Science Education week! This week marked the birthday of computing pioneer, Grace Hopper, and a national effort to acknowledge the importance of computing education to innovation, science and the economy. Take your computer teacher out to lunch!
    NSF Joins in Commemorating Computer Science Education Week 2012 [NSF]

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December 3 – 9, 2012

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This week’s headline story: Google+ Introduces Communities

We haven’t heard much in the news about Google+ this year, but this week the social network that set out to take on Facebook is back. According to Google, its Google+ social network is growing as fast as Facebook did at its peak. The number of Google+ active users has jumped to 135 million, a 35% increase in its user base in three months. Now Google+ has added a new feature called Communities. Communities are formed around special interests. So, for example, users who enjoy cooking can join the Google+ cooking community. When a user wants to post about cooking, he or she can post to the cooking community, where it will be most appreciated. Likewise users can go to communities when they want to read what others are posting. Any user can create a community as well. Time will tell if this new feature will help Google+ lure more users away from Facebook.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • A new startup company run by ex-NASA officials called Golden Spike has announced its intention to organize manned commercial expeditions to the moon by 2020, selling seats or cargo space to wealthy individuals, nations, and corporations. Want to go to the moon? It’ll set you back around $1.5 Billion.
    Two Tickets to the Moon: Yours for Just $1.5 Billion [Tech Review]
  • The House has unanimously passed a Senate resolution that calls on the U.S. government to oppose United Nations control of the Internet. The vote sends a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week where some proposals could allow U.N. regulation of the Internet.
    House approves resolution to keep Internet control out of UN hands [The Hill]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • Security firm Sophos has discovered that Android has overtaken Windows as the most targeted operating system for malware attacks. Sophos found that during a three-month period this year, 10 percent of Android-based devices experienced some form of malware attack, while just 6 percent of Windows PCs were attacked.
    The Changing Face of Security: Android Overtakes Windows As Top Threat [TechnologyReview]
  • Another hacker associated with the hacker collective Anonymous is going to jail. Twenty-two year old Christopher Weatherhead was convicted in a London courtroom of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers. Weatherhead’s attacks hit the sites of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and several others. Weatherhead, who will be sentenced at a later date, could face up to 10 years in prison.
    Student Convicted in Anonymous Cyberattacks [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Amazon is rolling out a new Kindle service aimed at kids ages 3 to 8. Kindle “FreeTime Unlimited” gives kids the freedom to explore age-appropriate content on their own and pick for themselves what they want to watch, play or read next. Amazon is selling the service at a monthly rate of $2.99 per child or $6.99 for the entire family.
    Amazon Offers FreeTime Unlimited for Kindle-Using Kids [NewsFactor]
  • TMobile has announced that it will begin carrying the iPhone and other Apple devices beginning in 2013.
    Apple devices coming to T-Mobile USA in 2013 [Computerworld]
  • Apple CEO, Tim Cook has announced that starting in 2013, a line of Macs will be manufactured in the US. Apple has suffered criticism for its reliance on the manufacturing giant Foxconn, which had a string of suicides at one of its plants, and where there have occasionally been reports of unsafe working conditions.
    Made in USA: Your Mac? [TechReview]
  • Soon ads may follow you from device to device thanks to a startup named Drawbridge. The new company is run by a former Google advertising scientist that has developed a technology that is able to match people across devices to serve more targeted advertisements, while promising to protect their privacy.
    You from One Device to the Next [Technology Review]
  • Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, seems to have come around to Apple’s point of view. Speaking to shareholders, Ballmer said that Microsoft needs to acknowledge that “getting the innovation right across the seam of hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them.” Ballmer says the future of Microsoft is in hardware.
    Is Microsoft Really A Hardware Company Now? [Technology Review]

and finally….

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November 26 – December 2, 2012


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This week’s headline story: The holiday cyber shopping season has begun!

The holiday shopping season has officially begun, and more and more shoppers are avoiding traffic by shopping online. Cyber Monday’s online sales broke records this year, clocking in at 30 percent higher than 2011. Mobile commerce was the star of Cyber Monday making up 13 percent of the total $1.5 billion in online sales. Referrals from social networks played a much lesser role, resulting in only 2 percent of online sales. “We are seeing a surge in online shopping and traffic as [all types] of online retailers compete and promote heavily,” Brian Walker, senior vice president at Hybris.

Mobile Makes Its Mark on $1.5B Cyber Monday [Ecommerce Times]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • South Korea prides itself on being on the leading edge of technology use, and being one of the most wired countries in the world. While the high level of technology has served South Korea’s economy very well, it may be taking a toll on its citizens. Across the entire population, South Korea’s government estimates that 2.55 million South Koreans have become addicted to smartphones, using the devices for 8 hours a day or more.
    Wired South Korea To Stem Digital Addiction from Age 3 [NewsFactor]
  • Conflict in Syria has reached a fevered pitch as rebels have been trying to push their way back into the capital city, Damascus, and opposition fighters are battling government troops near the city’s international airport. In an effort to regain some control, and disrupt rebel communication, the Syrian government shut down cellular networks and the Internet for two days this past week.
    Amid Turmoil, Syria Cuts Internet Access Nationwide [NewsFactor]
  • General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, told a crowd at a tech conference in San Francisco, that 2013 will be the year “when manufacturing becomes sexy again.” Immelt predicts that 3-D printing and additive manufacturing will revolutionize manufacturing by reducing the cost and time it takes to make products. As manufacturing becomes increasingly digitized, GE intends to become much more active in software development to run the new generation of sophisticate manufacturing devices.
    Immelt: 2013 Is the Year Manufacturing Gets Sexy [MIT Technology Review]
  • In somewhat of an endorsement of Immelt’s prediction, Staples has announced that it will soon roll out an in-store 3D printing service. The service, which is called Staples Easy 3D, will allow customers to print colored, photo-realistic 3D printed products by uploading electronic files to the Staples Office Center. The 3D output can be picked up at a nearby Staples store, or shipped to a customer’s address. Customers are expected to create 3D customized parts, prototypes, art objects, architectural models, medical models, tools, machine components, robot parts, or 3D maps, among other purposes.
    Staples Will Offer In-Store 3D Printing [NewsFactor]
  • Were you one of the millions of Facebook users who copied and pasted a disclaimer on your Facebook Timeline to enhance your privacy rights? If so, you were taken in by a hoax. While it wasn’t an especially cruel hoax, and actually served to show Facebook how serious some users are about privacy, posting the legal notice does not provide you with any legal power. Users are legally bound by Facebook’s privacy policy which they agree to when they join Facebook. Facebooks policy states that Facebook users own their own data, subject to their privacy policy settings, and when they delete data, Facebook no longer has any control over it.
    Facebook Addresses Privacy ‘Disclaimer’ Hoax [NewsFactor]

and in Information Security news this week…

  • Georgia Tech has released its cyber threats forecast for 2013. Researchers there predict that the year ahead will feature new and increasingly sophisticated means to capture and exploit user data, escalating battles over the control of online information and continuous threats to the U.S. supply chain from global sources. More specifically they predict that hackers will begin co-opting cloud resources to serve in botnets, also that browser search history tools will be hijacked to spread malware, that mobile browsers and mobile wallets will become a primary target for hackers, and that malware will become increasingly difficult to detect and eradicate.
    GEORGIA TECH RELEASES CYBER THREATS FORECAST FOR 2013 [gatech news]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Consumer Reports has concluded its survey of the telecom market and has found that Verizon has the largest LTE footprint, covering 300 million users – twice that of AT&T. AT&T, however, has the best LTE service, and Consumer Cellular, popular with retired subscribers, has the best overall standard service.
    Consumer Reports Grades Wireless Carriers [NewsFactor]
  • The success that Microsoft has found with its Surface tablet, has the company considering a phone. Foxconn International Holdings, manufacturer of the iPhone, has reportedly received orders from Microsoft for handsets that will be released in mid-2013 and will bear the Microsoft Surface brand.
    Microsoft Not Sitting Still with Win 8, May Intro Surface Phone [NewsFactor]
  • Nokia’s Lumia 920, the most popular Windows Phone 8 handset, is growing in popularity. Both Amazon, and AT&T are having difficulties meeting customer demand for the handset.
    Nokia’s Lumia 920 an Apparent Hot Item, Selling Out on Amazon [NewsFactor]
  • Apple’s personal assistant app Siri, is getting a driver’s license. Siri will be integrated into the in-dash MyLink “infotainment” system of the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic models. Drivers that own a iPhone running iOS6, and link it to their car, will be able to press a button on the steering wheel to ask Siri a question.
    Apple and Chevy To Take Siri on the Road [NewsFactor]
  • Google isn’t the only big company experimenting with augmented reality smart glasses. It was recently discovered that Microsoft submitted a patent for digital glasses that overlay information on top of the user’s view of the world, back in 2011. The patent describes how the eyewear could be used to bring up statistics over a wearer’s view of a baseball game or details of characters in a play.
    Microsoft files patent for augmented reality smart glasses [BBC]

and finally….

  • Google wants to improve its mobile search services by automatically delivering information that users wouldn’t’t think to search for online. In order to discover what users search for offline, Google has recruited 150 individuals who are queried randomly by mobile phone throughout the day to find out what they are thinking, and wondering. By learning what activities these individuals are engaged in throughout the day, and what kinds of questions arise in those contexts, Google hopes to develop services that anticipate the users needs and provide information that is relevant.
    How Google Plans to Find the UnGoogleable [Technology Review]

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