28 February 2014

Cryptocurrency Technology, Multiple Uses

Bitcoin may or may not be over, but cyrptocurrency technology is definitely viable --

Bitcoin Itself May Live or Die, but Cryptocurrencies Will Live On | MIT Technology Review: "....Smith believes that cryptocurrencies will have wide application across business and culture, including both banking and online advertising. For banks, Bitcoin is “just a new source of money,” he suggests. “Banks are very hungry to advance their value through technology.” It’s easy to imagine, say, HSBCoin, or BarclaysBucks, giving investors who want choice in the currencies they use the services of a trusted financial brand...." (read more at link above)

Can Somebody, Anybody, do something about Mark Zuckerberg's Messiah Complex?
Messiah Complex defined here. (read article at link below)
Can Mark Zuckerberg Save Children's Lives? | MIT Technology Review: "At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last evening, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg offered news that his company was helping out with app engineering for a pilot project delivering educational materials in Rwanda. This is laudable. But he also suggested he was a serious player in expanding global Internet access. This is misleading. And he fluidly conflated Facebook’s efforts with the saving of children’s lives. This is offensive...."

Google's next developer conference is all about modular smartphones | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Devindra Hardawar: "Google announced today that it will host three developer conferences this year for its Project Ara modular smartphone concept, with the first set for April 14 and 15 in Mountain View, Calif."

The internet is f  ked | The Verge: " . . . . an uncomfortable pattern: FCC commissioners are drawn from the ranks of industry lobbyists, while industry lobbyists are drawn from the ranks of FCC commissioners. Current Chairman Wheeler has served as president and CEO of both the NCTA cable lobby and the CTIA wireless lobby; former Chairman Powell is now the current president and CEO of the NCTA; former Commissioner Meredith Baker, who voted in favor of the Comcast / NBCUniversal merger, is now the head of Comcast’s DC lobbying office.... "Somehow when they’re pushing through unpopular things that a few big companies want, the FCC can do it," says Aaron ... But not all hope is lost. "The FCC is scared of one thing: actual people," says Wu. "When they sense that something is a popular issue suddenly the FCC is terrified."..." (read more at link above)

What’s Up with WhatsApp’s High Price? | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Dividing a company’s active users by its market capitalization or fund-raising valuation, we find that Facebook deemed each WhatsApp user to be worth around $42. Not only is that very similar to the implied value of Instagram’s 22 million active users at the time Facebook announced that $1 billion acquisition last year, it’s much less than the value associated with each user of Snapchat, Twitter, or Pinterest. Each of the 1.1 billion active users of Facebook (which was left off the chart so that the others could be better visualized) is essentially being valued at about $150...."

Google, Microsoft agree: Cloud is now safe enough to use
CNET
At the annual RSA Conference held at the Moscone Center here on Wednesday, Microsoft Chief Information Security Officer Bret Arsenault and Google Director of Security for Google Apps Eran Feigenbaum explained their stances on cloud security at a panel ...

Google ordered to take down YouTube anti-Muslim video
San Jose Mercury News
Google must take down a controversial anti-Muslim video on YouTube that sparked protests across the Muslim world because keeping it on the website violates the rights of an actress who sued after she was duped into appearing in the film, a divided ...

Apple Asks Appeals Court to Toss Antitrust Ruling
Wall Street Journal (blog)
“The district court's own findings show that Apple offered a retail business model to the publishers that was in Apple's independent business interests and was attractive to the publishers, who were frustrated with Amazon.” A Justice Department ...

Apple ends security updates for Snow Leopard
CNNMoney
Apple has since released three new iterations of its Mac operating system, including Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks. The good news for Snow Leopard users is that upgrading to the latest operating system is relatively easy -- and free. Most Snow ...
Google hopes to deliver $50 customizable modular phones by early 2015
Los Angeles Times
In a report in Time magazine, Google said it is continuing to work on Project Ara, an effort to create phones that users can easily modify by switching their parts as though they are Lego blocks. Project Ara began in late 2012 under subsidiary Motorola ...

Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
Computerworld
Computerworld - Microsoft delivered the first service pack for Office 2013 on Tuesday, making good on a promise last year to ship the update in early 2014 and synchronizing its release with prior editions' initial service packs. Office 2013 Service ...

Apple Updates Enterprise Tools for Large iOS Device Deployments ...
By Jordan Golson
Apple has updated the software used by large companies and educational institutions to deploy thousands of iPads and iPhones to employees and students. The changes toApple's Device Enrollment Program, its Volume Purchase Program, ...
MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors...

Google Launches Maps Gallery To Make Public Data Maps More ...
By Frederic Lardinois
Google today launched the Google Maps Gallery, an extension of the Google Maps Public Data Program it announced last October. The new gallery is meant to..
TechCrunch

Google Debuts Education Tool Oppia for Teaching Others
By Emil Protalinski
Google today launched a new online education tool called Oppia, currently an open source project with the goal of making it easy for anyone to create online interactive activities that others can learn from. Called explorations, these activities ...
The Next Web

Oppia: a tool for interactive learning | Google Open Source Blog
By Mary Radomile
Lots of online education is delivered using video and text. However, opportunities for learners to do things and get feedback on their work are also important — after all, one does not learn to play the piano by watching videos of many virtuoso ...
Google Open Source Blog

Google Wants Its Modular Ara Phone to Cost $50 - Gizmodo
By Jamie Condliffe
Google is taking its Ara modular smartphone platform increasingly seriously, and now in interviews with Time it has revealed that it aims to sell a simple version of the phone for as little as $50. Time has taken a deep dive into Google's modular ...


more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



27 February 2014

T-Mobile LTE is fastest US network

The Uncarrier is killing the big guys --

T-Mobile's LTE network the nation's fastest at 11.5 Mbps, according to report - FierceWireless: "According to a new report from OpenSignal, T-Mobile US' LTE network provides the fastest average download speeds at 11.5 Mbps. Those speeds were faster than the 9.12 Mbps that AT&T Mobility provided, the 7.82 Mbps that Verizon Wireless provided, and the 4.32 Mbps that Sprint provided."


T-Mobile Pushes Customer Gains - Businessweek: "“T-Mobile is making money on each subscriber they acquire -- it’s just nowhere near as much money as the incumbents are used to,” Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC in New York, said in an e-mail. He recommends buying the shares. The rest of the industry should be very afraid.”"


Apple sues Chinese government agency over Siri patent dispute: "Apple has targeted both a Chinese government agency and a Shanghai-based company in a new patent lawsuit related to the ownership of Siri, the voice-driven personal assistant found on iPhone and iPad...."

Groundhog Day: Why the Samsung Galaxy S5 is just another Android device | ZDNet: "... Samsung's directions, translation and cloud storage features are simply duplications of what Google has in their native Android implementation already. It's very hard to say that this is actual differentiation and value-add. It would certainly not surprise me if Samsung, along their their increasingly deviated Android build and default applications, built out their own App Store to compete with Google Play, just as Amazon has done with their own Android implementation on the Kindle Fire...."

Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
Computerworld
Chromebooks, powered by Google's browser-based Chrome OS, have made inroads into education and business, but their overall impact has been disputed. Still, Microsoft sees them as enough of a threat to attack them in its advertising. Carolina Milanesi ...

Apple fixes security flaw for Macs
CNNMoney
Apple issued a fix Tuesday for Mac computer users whose sensitive information could have been exposed to hackers. The software update patches a security hole in OS X, the operating system for Apple computers. It comes four days after the same bug was ...

Apple's culture of secrecy delays security response -- again
CNET (blog)
The evidence points to problems at Apple with alerting its users and fixing flaws in a timely manner. This is problematic because it's not made clear to Mac and iPhone users how important an update is to their security. By contrast, Google and ...

Google Glass-wearing woman posts video of alleged SF bar attack
Los Angeles Times
A San Francisco woman who says she was attacked at a bar on Haight Street after refusing to stop wearing Google Glass has released video footage of the incident that she filmed with the new technology that spurred the confrontation in the first place.

Apple retires Snow Leopard from support, leaves 1 in 5 Macs vulnerable to attacks
Computerworld
To Apple, Snow Leopard increasingly looks like Windows XP does to Microsoft: an operating system that refuses to roll over and die. At the end of January, 19% of all Macs were running Snow Leopard, slightly more, in fact, than ran its successor, Lion ...

In appeal, Apple says e-book ruling will harm consumers
PCWorld
The district court's findings show that Apple offered a retail business model to the publishers that was in the company's independent business interests “and was attractive to the publishers, who were frustrated with Amazon,” Apple said in a filing ...

Microsoft Shouldn't Ditch The Xbox One Kinect
Forbes
A Kinect-free Xbox One “Lite” could retail for closer to $425 without taking a loss, or Microsoft could match the PS4′s $399 price-tag and take a small loss (or find some way to lower the cost of manufacturing the unit as a whole to get the price ...

Apple Joins Samsung in Telling EU to Cut Patent Trolls' Power
Bloomberg
Apple and Samsung are among 19 companies and associations that told the EU in a letter that a new court should limit the ability of companies that license technology to win court injunctions when the validity of the underlying patent is in dispute ...

Microsoft rallies Windows for price war with Android
PCWorld (blog)
... currently being sold via Microsoft's online Store for $230, down from its regular $300 price. Scouring Amazon and Best Buy's websites reveal no Windows tablets and few Windows notebooks available under $250. ... And despite what those Chromebook ...


more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



26 February 2014

Nokia forks Android, deletes Google, adds Microsoft services

Editor's note: Microsoft should have just paid Nokia to fork Android into Microsoft Android a long time ago, forgot about Windows Phone, and then Microsoft wouldn't be hung with a money-losing phone hardware company that will eventually succumb to underpricing from Chinese rivals, a loser Windows Phone OS, and the disastrous Windows 8 effort to dumb down its desktop OS to a touchscreen tablet/phone UX.

Nokia embraces open source Android for new smartphone range | Technology | theguardian.com: "... The new smartphones run Android, but lack access to Google’s apps and services. Similar to the way Amazon has “forked” Android for its Kindle Fire tablet range, rather than using the Android found on most mainstream Android smartphones, Nokia has modified the Android software. It has heavily customised it to including both Microsoft’s and Nokia’s own apps and services like OneDrive and Here Maps instead of Google’s apps like search, Gmail and Google Maps...."

Forget about email, Zuck now into instant messaging --
Facebook ends its @facebook.com email address service, citing low usage by users - The Next Web"Launched back in November 2010, the service was another effort by the social networking company to streamline all communications under a single umbrella."

Brazil, Europe plan undersea cable to skirt U.S. spying - Yahoo News"At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to "guarantee the neutrality" of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil's Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance. "We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don't want businesses to be spied upon," Rousseff told a joint news conference with the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council."

Mozilla Promises $25 Smartphone 'Flood' | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: "...."What we are all about is bringing more people online," said Mozilla COO Jay Sullivan. To that end, the company is partnering with Shanghai-based Spreadtrum to design and build a device that costs just $25 and deliver them to OEMs across the world. Sullivan predicted that "the efficiency of Spreadtrum will create a flood of $25 smartphones."..."

Apple users in security warning
BBC News
The problem was first spotted on Apple's mobile devices which run the iOS 7 operating system. It relates to the way secure connections are made between Apple's safari browser and websites, including banking sites, Google and Facebook. These sites have ...

Microsoft: Android Nokia not our call to make
Computerworld
He reasoned that if the Nokia X line fueled large numbers of Microsoft Account sign-ups, the Redmond firm may be able to replicate long-in-the-past moves by both Apple andGoogle, which used iTunes and Gmail accounts, respectively, to pull customers ...

Microsoft Hardware Chief Julie Larson-Green to Take New Job
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Larson-Green said in an internal email Monday that she will become the Chief Experience Officer, a new position where she will be responsible for making Microsoft web services and software look good and work well on different kinds of computing devices.

Apple's security bug: What to know about it and what to do about it
Washington Post
Last Friday, the tech giant took the unusual step of releasing an update for its mobile operating system, iOS, to fix one bug — one that left Apple devices wide open to hackers and spies looking to grab users' most sensitive information. What is this ...

Google sets roadblocks to stop distracted driver legislation
Chicago Tribune
Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the nascent wearable technology. Some eight U.S. states are considering ...

Microsoft Confirms Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8 Updates
InformationWeek
Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that updates to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone will arrive this spring. Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, corporate VP of Windows Phone Joe Belfiore said the upcoming changes will include UI tweaks to ...

Apple Joins Samsung in Telling EU to Cut Patent Trolls' Power
Bloomberg
Apple and Samsung are among 19 companies and associations that told the EU in a letter that a new court should limit the ability of companies that license technology to win court injunctions when the validity of the underlying patent is in dispute ...

Samsung's Gear Fit doesn't run Android or Tizen, and other surprises
CNET
Developers can make whatever apps they want for Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, but there's no open SDK for Gear Fit or Galaxy Gear, two of Samsung's top US mobile execs tell CNET.


more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



25 February 2014

Ray Kurzweil: Robots will be smarter than Humans by 2029

Robots will soon rule the World! --

Robots will be smarter than us all by 2029, warns AI expert Ray Kurzweil - News - Gadgets & Tech - The Independent: "Kurzweil says than within 15 years robots will have overtaken us, having fulfilled the so-called Turing test where computers can exhibit intelligent behaviour equal to that of a human. Speaking in an interview with the Observer, he said that his prediction was foreshadowed by recent high-profile AI developments, and Hollywood films like Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix...." (read more at link above)

Comcast and Netflix Reach a Streaming Agreement - NYTimes.com: "Comcast, the country’s largest cable and broadband provider, has reached an “interconnection agreement” with Netflix to ensure that its videos would be streamed directly — and thus faster and more reliably — to Comcast’s customers, both companies announced Sunday...."

Facebook's WhatsApp adding voice calls
CNN
Voice service will come first to Apple devices and Google's Android operating system, with Windows phones and Blackberry to follow. WhatsApp now has more than 330 million daily users and is popular in places such as India, South Korea and Germany.

Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
Computerworld
Computerworld - Microsoft on Sunday publicly acknowledged what leaks had already shown, that the company will issue an update to Windows 8.1 this spring that provides more tools for owners of traditional PCs controlled by mouse and keyboard. In a press ...

Google Readying Android Smartwatch with LG
Wall Street Journal (blog)
A high-profile addition to Google's gadget collection–an Android-powered smartwatch–is on the way as a result of collaboration with LG Electronics, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday. The news emerged from Barcelona, where Mobile World ...

Microsoft Should Keep Nokia's Android Phones
New York Times (blog)
That interface is the key: These phones are gateways for Microsoft and Nokia services. Users will sense no whiff of Google here; the phones will use Bing as the default search engine, and offer Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage, Outlook for email and ...

Apple's security bug: What to know about it and what to do about it
Washington Post
Last Friday, the tech giant took the unusual step of releasing an update for its mobile operating system, iOS, to fix one bug — one that left Apple devices wide open to hackers and spies looking to grab users' most sensitive information. What is this ...

Microsoft's giving Titanfall away for free in limited Xbox One bundle
PCWorld (blog)
Hope you didn't just buy an Xbox One in anticipation of Titanfall, because Microsoft is about to give the game away in a limited-edition bundle. The Titanfall Xbox One bundle will be available on March 11 for $500, the same price as a standalone Xbox ...

For Hints at Apple's Plans, Read Its Shopping List
New York Times
As fellow tech giants have reached billion-dollar deals in recent years to add significant new arms to their businesses — like Facebook buying WhatsApp for as much as $19 billion, and Microsoft buying Nokia's handset business for more than $7.1 ...

Google yanks option to restore Chrome's old-style new tab page, riles users ...
Computerworld
The feature, which debuted on Opera in 2007, has been copied by all its rivals, including Chrome, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox, and Apple's Safari. Last September, Google rolled out its redesigned new tab page with Chrome 29 ...

Why Amazon's Next Conquest Will Be Your Television
Wired
For months, rumors flew about Amazon building an internet TV device similar to Apple TV or Roku–a box that lets you shuttle movies, TV shows, music, and other stuff across the internet to your television. Now, sources are telling Recode that Amazon ...


'Biggest observed meteorite impact' hits Moon
BBC News
Spanish astronomers spotted a meteorite with a mass of about half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September. They say the collision would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been visible from Earth. The event is reported in ...

more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



24 February 2014

Mobile World Congress; Samsung and the anti-Samsung film

Mobile World Congress: February 24-27, 2014, Barcelona
Watch it LIVE! - Live feed starts Monday morning at 08:30 CET (2:30am EST) courtesy of Mobile World Live TV
Read the Mobile World Daily - Preview
Get Connected - Click here to see what Social Media is saying about


Samsung allegedly pressures Korean newspaper to kill coverage of anti-Samsung film | The Verge: " . . . The article, which was posted on February 5th, reported that celebrities were spending their own money to fund screenings of the film. Another Promise is a fictionalized portrait of Hwang Sang-ki, whose 23-year-old daughter died from acute leukemia in 2007. Hwang Yu-mi fell ill after being exposed to hazardous chemicals at a Samsung plant in Suwon, one of scores of workers who have fallen ill globally after working in semiconductor plants. A Seoul administrative court sided with Hwang’s father in 2011, saying there was a high probability that the leukemia resulted from her exposure to hazardous chemicals....."

The prospects of the HTML5-based Firefox OS: "....The booting up of Firefox OS starts with the bootloader, through the Linux kernel init, to the Gecko process and finally to GAIA system apps. Since the OS is based on HTML5 and Open Web resources, developers only have to learn HTML, JavaScript and CSS; no other languages are necessary. It is worth noting that the Firefox OS marketplace is also open. Vendors can not only leverage the app resources readily available in the Firefox marketplace, but also set up their own marketplaces (they set their prices and maintain their own software) for use by Firefox handsets. This is quite attractive, compared to the other two OS platforms....."

Official Blog: More love for playlists and a new look for YouTube: " . . . . YouTube now has a center-aligned look, fitting neatly on any screen size, and feeling similar to the mobile apps you’re spending almost half your YouTube time with. You can quickly flip between what’s recommended and popular in “What to Watch” like Postmodern Jukebox’s Timber, and the latest from your subscribed channels like iamOTHER in “My Subscriptions,” with both options now front and center. Click the guide icon to the right of the YouTube logo at any time to see your playlists, subscriptions and more. . . ."

Amazon Gets Its TV Box Ready, Again | Re/code: " . . . . What I don’t know is whether the device Amazon is producing will also function as a gaming hub. As my colleague Eric Johnson reported yesterday, Amazon has been hiring game developers. And a report from Web site VG 247 last month asserted that Amazon was building an Android-based box that would play games, similar to the crowd-funded Ouya console that debuted last year."

WhatsApp has outage after $19B Facebook deal"Service outages are common for rapidly growing technology companies, and the WhatsApp Status account has tweeted about an outage about once a month going back through May."

Gmail's 'unsubscribe' tool comes out of the weeds | ITworld: "Google is trying to strike the right balance to keep ordinary Gmail users happy without alienating business users. "We want our users to not have spam, and we also want you to reach the user," Elie Bursztein, who leads Google's anti-abuse research, told conference attendees."

Apple promises fix 'very soon' for Macs with failed encryption
Reuters
Confirming researchers' findings late Friday that a major security flaw in iPhones and iPads also appears in notebook and desktop machines running Mac OS X, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters: "We are aware of this issue and already have a ...

Google, LG working on smartwatch to be unveiled in June
CNET
With its smartwatch, Google will employ a Nexus-like model in which it designs the software and controls virtually every aspect of the launch, leaving the hardware details to a partner who takes a backseat in terms of visibility. In this case, LG is ...

Apple's security bug: Five NSA conspiracy theories
Fortune
It lays out the timeline for when the U.S. government's top cyberspies gained access to user data on the servers of the major U.S. Internet companies: Microsoft (MSFT) in 2007,Google (GOOG) in 2009, AOL (AOL) in 2011 and Apple (AAPL) in Oct. 2012.

Google Fiber may be fast, but it takes time to build
Denver Post
If you live in one of the cities Google may wire for high-speed Internet, don't expect it to happen overnight. Based on the experience of Kansas City, Kan., where Google is building its first high-speed network, it could take a couple of years before ...

Google Grabs Spider.io in Anti-Ad Fraud Battle
Top Tech News
With its Spider.io buy, Google is moving to catch click fraud and to maintain advertiser confidence in the system. Google is acquiring Spider.io because the search giant has an interest in deterring, catching and punishing the sources of fraudulent ...

Microsoft targets developing markets with Windows Phone changes
PCWorld
With developing markets in its sight, Microsoft is making a number of changes to Windows Phone that it hopes will result in a wider range of less expensive devices. A forthcoming update of the Windows Phone 8 operating system will drop several key ...

Microsoft: Pretty please make Windows Phones based on our design
CNET
Basically, that means anyone -- from established handset vendors like HTC to PC makers like Hewlett-Packard -- can build phones relatively quickly and cheaply. If the companies want, they can essentially slap their own branding on the device from ...

Google Commands: Thou Shalt Not Be a 'Glasshole'
CIO Today
Realizing the potential ick factor of Google Glass and concerns over privacy, Google is asking Google Glass wearers not be rude or creepy in public. In a new list of etiquette rules, Google warns, "Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at ...

Amazon's history should teach us to beware 'friendly' internet giants
The Guardian
Except at amazon.com. Like the other titans of the online world – Google, Facebook, Yahoo and to a lesser extent, Microsoft – Amazon is driven by data and algorithms. But not entirely. What many of its customers may not realise is that the results ...
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is an upstanding slate
CNET
To play this video, you need Javascript enabled and the latest version of Flash installed. Install Flash now. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is an upstanding slate. Created: 02/23/2014. Video description: The 10 HD+ boasts a metal kickstand, that Lenovo says ...

Netflix Agrees to Pay Comcast to End Traffic Jam
Wall Street Journal
In exchange for payment, Netflix will get direct access to Comcast's broadband network, the people said. The multiyear deal comes just 10 days after Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., TWC -0.79% Time Warner Cable Inc. U.S.: NYSE $140.54 ...

Mozilla plans '$25 smartphone' for emerging markets
BBC News
Mozilla has shown off a prototype for a $25 (£15) smartphone that is aimed at the developing world. The company, which is famed mostly for its Firefox browser, has partnered with Chinese low-cost chip maker Spreadtrum. While not as powerful as more ...

more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



23 February 2014

Microsoft Slashes Windows 8 Price, Desperation Aboard a Sinking Ship?

Or just moving the chairs on the deck of the Titantic? --

Microsoft Said to Cut Windows Price 70% to Counter Rivals - Bloomberg"Manufacturers will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public."

Why AT&T's Surveillance Report Omits 80 Million NSA Targets | Threat Level | Wired.com: "AT&T this week released for the first time in the phone company’s 140-year history a rough accounting of how often the U.S. government secretly demands records on telephone customers. But to those who’ve been following the National Security Agency leaks, Ma Bell’s numbers come up short by more than 80 million spied-upon Americans...."

WhatsApp Was Valued At ~$1.5B In Final Round Before Sale | TechCrunch: "... the truth is that the company had three rounds of financing, with Sequoia as the sole investor. According to documents unearthed by VC Experts, WhatsApp went from a $250k seed round in 2009 to an $8 million round at an ~$80 million valuation in 2011. The final round, which we reported as a Series C here but was actually technically a Series B, was a $52 million round back in July 2013, at a ~$1.5 billion valuation...."

Users blast LinkedIn for falsely implying that friends and colleagues have accounts | The Verge: "... LinkedIn may be taking things a step too far; users have complained about the company's "people you may know" section listing contacts who aren't even on the professional networking site. But you'd have no idea simply looking at the tool ..."

Comcast Time Warner Cable merger criticism: no evidence it will help | BGR: "One thing we’ve heard and will continue to hear over the next several months is that the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger will be an awesome deal for consumers because it will give the newly formed cable giant the ability to really invest in aggressive network upgrades. Writing at Bloomberg Businessweek, Brendan Greeley gives us some good reasons to treat this argument with a great deal of skepticism because we’ve largely let ISPs consolidate to their hearts’ content and it’s done us very little good...."

Netflix packets being dropped every day because Verizon wants more money | Ars Technica: "Verizon wants to be paid by consumers and Cogent, but Cogent refuses to pay...."

America's 10-Year Experiment in Broadband Investment Has Failed - Businessweek: "Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced Wednesday that there would be new rules written to guarantee net neutrality. It’s a good thing any website can reach any person unimpeded by tolls, and it’s good that Wheeler still wants to make this possible. The Internet service providers will first work to dilute the new rules, of course, and then sue to overturn them. Entire legal departments, lobbying outfits, and public-relations firms live for this moment, the beginning of a now-familiar three-year grind with the FCC....The U.S. has slipped to 16th place. Germany, France, and the U.K. have passed us, and all the countries ahead of us have applied some combination of either opening up the last mile or paying for infrastructure at the government level...."

Serious vulnerability found in SSL/TLS on OS X Mavericks and iOS, easily exploitable [Update] - Neowin: "Apple has been working hard to get its products into the enterprise but a new security vulnerability is about to put a black eye on their reputation. Sure, we know that many companies have security related issues but it’s the fact of the obvious oversight of this issue that will raise alarm bells. On Friday, Apple revealed a significant bug in their SSL/TLS implementation..."

Free Online University Receives Accreditation, in Time for Graduating Class of 7 - NYTimes.com: "the University of the People, a tuition-free four-year-old online institution built to reach underserved students around the world, announced Thursday that it had received accreditation."

This is where you'll find your next smartphone | Mobile World Congress - CNET Reviews: "... the Mobile World Congress is anything but usual. Held every February in Barcelona, Spain, it is the the premier global event for the wireless industry. Think of a smaller CES, but pack it with only smartphones, tablets, and everything mobile, and you'll get the idea. Then, drop it all in one of the world's most seductive cities -- sorry, Las Vegas -- and you wind up with a most exciting tech show...."


Google Powers Forest Protection Effort
InformationWeek
Davis and Thau point point out that while Brazil, with its vast Amazon rainforest, has long been one of the top countries for deforestation, the rate of deforestation there declined by an average of 1,318 square kilometers per year in the past ten ...

Google's 3D tech could be boon to Glass, robots and virtual reality
Computerworld
Computerworld - News that Google is working on 3D smartphones has analysts speculating that the company will one day add the tech to a slew of its products, such asGoogle Maps, Google Glass, Google robots and even virtual reality tools. "Google is ...

Apple v. Samsung: CEOs have no deal yet
San Jose Mercury News
Apple and Samsung top executives have been unable to settle their global patent feud, although they told a federal judge late Friday they will continue to seek a pact that might avoid another San Jose federal court trial looming in March. In a brief ...

Amazon Prime prices to increase in UK, Germany
USA TODAY
Amazon will increase the price of its Prime service to customers in the United Kingdom next week by 64%. The price will go from £49 ($81) per year to £79 ($131), Amazon said. The increase comes after Amazon purchased Lovefilm, a European movie rental ...

Why Apple needs a $700 MacBook Air
Computerworld
Historically, Apple's Macs have been revenue-making machines, with an average selling price (ASP) more than twice that of other systems, the vast bulk of them powered byMicrosoft's Windows. In the September 2013 quarter, the Mac ASP was $1,230, down ...

“Near-Real-Time' Updates On Deforestation Will Help Track Global Loss Of Trees
The Almagest
Global Forest Watch (GFW), a novel monitoring system has been launched to provide “near real time” updates on deforestation around the world. Backed by Google and more than 40 business and campaign groups, GFW will collect information from satellite ...

more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



22 February 2014

Why Is Broadband Internet More Expensive in the US?

Basically it comes down to a failure of regulation -- the FCC and Obama Administration have dropped the ball -- and there probably isn't a more important issue for economic progress and infrastructure. Will Washington wake up, or will Obama's carrier-connected, conflicted FCC chair, continue to cater to ISPs?

BBC News - Why is broadband more expensive in the US?: "...The price of basic broadband, TV and phone packages - or bundles as they are known - is much higher in American cities than elsewhere, suggests the New America Foundation think tank, which compared hundreds of available packages worldwide. Looking at some of the cheaper ones available in certain cities, at lower to mid download speeds, San Francisco ($99/£61), New York ($70) and Washington DC ($68) dwarf London ($38), Paris ($35) and Seoul ($15)..."

Why is Netflix streaming slow? Major peering dispute with ISPs | BGR: " . . . What this really boils down to, explains Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin, is a dispute over peering. Most of the time, ISPs and bandwidth providers such as Cogent Communications have peering agreements to swap traffic with one another without any additional charge. However, ISPs apparently think the rise of video streaming over their networks has upset the balance that peering agreements have traditionally struck which is why they’re trying to change things up. . . ."

Time Warner Cable Raises Rates (Again), Adds 'Broadcast TV' Fee | DSLReports, ISP Information: "As with most rate hikes, the notices are accompanied with the insistence that the hikes are about bringing you added "value," and necessary because of all the great upgrades the companies have been busy with. Except in Time Warner Cable's case those upgrades have been slow in coming, the company considerably slower than Comcast in deploying faster DOCSIS 3.0 speeds or new TV technologies."

Inside Scoop: Samsung S5 and other Mobile World Congress soothsayings Video
CNET
....All eyes are on Barcelona, Spain, ...(Mobile World Congress, February 24-27, Barcelona)

How Will WhatsApp Coexist With a Company Whose Business It Hates?
Businessweek
In recent weeks Facebook has been talking up the strategy it hopes will help keep it from fading into obsolescence during its second decade. In earnings calls and profiles in prestigious business publications, Mark Zuckerberg has talked about the value of ...

YouTube Gets a Makeover With Layout, Playlist Tweaks
PC Magazine
If you browsed over to YouTube this morning, you may have noticed that things look a little bit different. The Google-owned video-sharing site has received a mini-makeover, including changes to the layout and playlists. "The way you watch YouTube keeps ...

What Is WhatsApp? An Explainer | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: " The app also uploads all of a user's contacts and requires them to individually block users with whom they do not want contact. Additionally, even the numbers of those who do not use WhatsApp are stored in the app in perpetuity."

Google's Project Tango Sees All
InformationWeek
Current smartphones can manage limited tracking of position and orientation, but lack the full range of sensors and precision to run the kinds of applications Google envisions. More significantly, they aren't designed to place the device within a 3D ...

Hey Microsoft, where's the next Mac Office?
Computerworld
Historically, Microsoft has hewn to a three-year development cycle for both Office on the Mac and the far-more-popular Office suite for Windows, with a new version of the former following the newest of the latter by several months at a minimum. Office ...

Apple Acting More Like Microsoft Than Facebook
Forbes
Not only has Apple been slow to enter new categories with in-house products, it has also been beaten out for acquisitions by rivals like Facebook and Google Google. Whether or not Apple bid for assets like smart appliance maker Nest Labs, which Google ...

Google Fiber Plans Expansion To 34 New Cities (Including Salt Lake)
Forbes
The race for the Internet gigabit space took another leap forward this week with Google Google Fiber's announcement that it has targeted 34 more cities in 9 metro areas for access to Google internet services at the increasingly popular 1Gps speed. Salt ...

Google Borrows $1 Billion With First Bond Sale in Three Years
Bloomberg
Google Inc. (GOOG) sold bonds for the first time in three years, borrowing funds to refinance $1 billion of maturing debt even after its cash hoard swelled to a record of more than $60 billion. The owner of the world's largest search engine issued 3 ...

Google Fiber may be fast, but it takes time to build
San Jose Mercury News
If you live in one of the five Silicon Valley cities Google may wire for high speed Internet, don't expect it to happen overnight. Based on the experience of Kansas City, whereGoogle is building its first high-speed network, it could take a couple of ...

Microsoft Stops Hiding Office's Free Online Edition
TIME
PS Apple has iCloud and it's giving Office Online a run for its money and totally blows Google Drive out of the water when it comes to presentations (haven't tried it for anything else)....

Google makes good on threat, flips 'kill switch' on some Chrome add-ons
Computerworld
By forcing add-on developers to publish their work in the Store, Google moved another step closer to a closed market, the kind popularized by Apple's mobile app ecosystem, where it can more easily vet the extensions and then yank them if necessary. On ...

Google deal is no 'gentlemen's agreement', says EU antitrust chief
Chicago Tribune
PARIS (Reuters) - The EU antitrust chief defended a deal with Google over how it displays web search results, following criticism from rival firms and his own colleagues, saying there had been no gentlemen's agreement to close the case. The world's ...


more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



21 February 2014

WhatsApp, Did Facebook Overpay?

Facebook may have way overpaid -- on the other hand, this may be about non-US users:

Google offered to buy WhatsApp for $10 billion - Fortune Tech: "Two separate sources have told me that's how much Google (GOOG) offered to purchase WhatsApp. The bid did not come with promise of a board seat, unlike the Facebook agreement. Google declined to comment, during a conversation with a Fortune colleague."

What Is WhatsApp? An Explainer | News & Opinion | PCMag.com: "When you heard that Facebook shelled out $16B+ for WhatsApp yesterday, did you ask, "What's WhatsApp"? You weren't the only one. While the app has proved its value, at least to the market, it isn't as popular in the United States as it is in Europe, Latin America, and India...."

Google offered to acquire WhatsApp for $10B, report says
CNET
At the same time that Facebook was wooing WhatsApp, Google offered to acquire the messaging service for $10 billion, Fortune reported Thursday, citing multiple people who claimed to have knowledge of those negotiations. Unlike Facebook, Google wasn't ...


Microsoft dubs 'confusing' Office Web Apps as Office Online
Computerworld
... year service that includes Google Docs. Microsoft currently counters Google Apps for Business with a pair of Office 365 plans built around Office Online: One, aimed at small businesses with 25 or fewer employees, is priced at $5 per user per month ...

Microsoft delivers stopgap defense against active IE10 attacks
Computerworld
Computerworld - Microsoft on Wednesday issued a stopgap defense that protects Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and IE10 against ongoing attacks until the company issues a patch, probably in three weeks. An unpatched vulnerability in those two versions of ...

What if Microsoft threw an iPad Office party, and no one came?
Computerworld
Computerworld - Microsoft will make a killing when it launches Office apps for Apple'siPad and tablets powered by Google's Android mobile operating system. That's been the consensus of most analysts, pundits and outside-Redmond observers since talk ...

Google: How not to be a 'Glasshole'
CNN
(CNN) -- Google has heard all the concerns about Glass, its digital headset expected to hit the market by the end of the year. They've heard people's fears they'll be secretly recorded by a Glass-wearing creeper. They know somebody's going to be stupid ...

New Google Maps is now available to the masses
New York Daily News
The next generation of Google Maps has arrived, and it may make traveling a little easier.Google released a slew of new and improved maps features for about 70% of users on Wednesday afternoon. RELATED: EAST BRONX NABES NOW OFFICIALLY ...

Google's growing clout spooks a key partner in Samsung
USA TODAY
Smartphone consumers have shown that they will stick with a software platform that has a robust pool of apps, as Apple's and Google's do. On the other hand, operating systems that weren't widely embraced by the developer community led to a dearth of ...

Google offered to pay $10 billion for WhatsApp, report says
Los Angeles Times
However, Google did offer WhatsApp millions of dollars just to be notified if the messaging service began acquisition talks with any other tech companies, according to The Information. The report said WhatsApp ended up turning down that offer.

Amazon Takes One Step Forward, Two Back
Forbes
After Amazon reported its year end revenues, their stock tumbled despite comparable quarter revenue growth of 20 percent. The company did end the year with a narrow profit, something they did not accomplish last year, but investors have tired of the ...

Google I/O Developer Conference To Be Held June 25-26 This Year ...
By Darrell Etherington
How One Scammer Manipulated Apple's Top Charts To Earn Tens Of Thousands Daily Using A $10 GameSalad Template. The dates for this year's Google I/O developer conference are June 25 and 26, Google's Android and Chrome boss ...
TechCrunch

Sail-World.com : Sailing robot Honey Badger that could sail itself around the world: "... Its potential goes far beyond record-setting jaunts to Hawaii. One obvious application is to mount the wing on a fleet of sensor-laden drones and send them sailing into the world’s oceans, where they could report on their findings. 'I want to get the data we need to show that global warming is real,' Jenkins says. To that end, they could monitor ocean acidification, a key barometer of climate change..."

more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)



20 February 2014

Google Fiber Continues to Expand

Move over Comcast, Google Fiber is coming to even more cities! --

Official Blog: Exploring new cities for Google Fiber: "... We've long believed that the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it’s fantastic to see this momentum. And now that we’ve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks. So we’ve invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S.—34 cities altogether—to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber...."

More info at link above and at: https://fiber.google.com/newcities/

HP 'KNEW' about Autonomy's hardware sales BEFORE the whistle blew: report • The Register: "HP knew about Autonomy's hardware and reseller sales long before a whistleblower pointed them out and the company wrote down its acquisition by $8.8bn, theFinancial Times has claimed (paywall), citing emails and Deloitte audit reports. HP has accused Autonomy of "accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures" to excuse the massive writedown it made after it bought the UK software firm for $11.1bn in 2011. A year later, it claimed that it was misled about the state of the company's business when it wrote off most of the cost of the purchase...."

FCC won’t appeal Verizon ruling, will regulate ’Net on “case-by-case basis” | Ars Technica: " . . . Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge has previously warned that case-by-case regulation is ineffective. "We're in a bad place with net neutrality right now because the FCC got itself tied up in a knot with subtle lawyering," Bergmayer wrote. "Instead of building on its successes as a telecommunications regulator, it tried to come up with a 'third way.' I'm skeptical that yet more subtle lawyering—a fourth way or a fifth way—is going to save us." Public Knowledge CEO Gene Kimmelman released a statement today, saying, "While skeptical that the FCC's initial focus on section 706 will yield meaningful results, we are encouraged to see that the FCC plans to keep its 'reclassification' proceeding open...."

We Need Straightforward Rules to Protect Net Neutrality | Public Knowledge: "Telecom lawyers just can't stop coming up with complicated answers to simple problems. The reason the FCC lost its net neutrality case at the DC Circuit was simple. It tried to both de-regulate broadband access, by classifying it as an "information service" (something like a website or a social network), while applying traditional "telecommunications" rules to it--things like prohibitions on blocking content and discriminating against competing services. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals said--sorry, FCC. If you want to treat broadband access like a communications service, you need to formally classify it as one. Clever legal tricks aren't going to get you around this...."

Official Blog: Thank you, and welcome to the new Google Maps: "Over the coming weeks the new Google Maps will make its way onto desktops around the world. Many of you have been previewing it since its debut last May, and thanks to your helpful feedback we’re ready to make the new Maps even more widely available.... "

Xiaomi kicks off global expansion with Singapore launch | ZDNet: "Chinese smartphone darling, Xiaomi, has kicked off its global expansion plans in Singapore where its Android devices will go on sale this Friday, marking the company's first foray into markets outside of Greater China...."

AT&T reveals number of NSA and location demands in first-ever transparency report — Tech News and Analysis: "AT&T has made good on its promise to publish a report showing how often government demands data about its customers. The report includes information about cell tower searches and once-secret NSA demands...."

Apple passing Microsoft — Benedict Evans: "A symbolic moment, this: in Q4 2013 the number of computers* sold by Apple was larger than the number of Windows PC sold globally. If you add Windows Phone to the mix they're more or less exactly equal. "

Apple, Google, Microsoft: Where does the money come from? | ZDNet: "Three companies dominate the tech landscape in 2014: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Although they compete directly and indirectly in various segments, each company has its own distinct financial personality. Big Three earnings Apple Q1 2014 hardware sales: By the numbers Microsoft earnings cheat sheet: Windows is back to cash cow number one Google's earnings: What future for plunging AdSense business? The best way to understand the differences between these three publicly traded companies is to look at the detailed reports each is required to file every quarter...."

BBC News - Kim Dotcom mansion raid was legal, NZ court rules: "However, the court did agree that the investigators' cloning of electronic evidence had been unlawful. . . .Mr Dotcom's legal team said it intends to contest the appeal court's decision."

Microsoft kills SkyDrive, launches OneDrive
Computerworld
In comparison, Apple provides only 5GB of free storage space for its iCloud online syncing and storage service, Google offers 15GB free with Google Drive, and the popular Dropbox file synchronization service hands just 2GB to customers free of charge.

Apple, Elon Musk and interplanetary travel
CNET
Apple, as well as Microsoft and Google, wants to be in every car, not just Tesla. The company is betting that iOS users want to have their Apple-ness everywhere. Applehas been working with Audi, General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, and others to integrate ...

Apple Gains Some Ground in China Smartphone Market
Wall Street Journal (blog)
According to research firm IDC, Apple's market share in mainland China rose to 7% in the quarter from 6% in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was the first full quarter afterApple launched its iPhone 5S and 5C in China in late September, on the ...

Google Capital Lands $300 Million and Leaps Into Web Education
Bloomberg
Google Inc. (GOOG)'s new investment arm has $300 million in fresh capital to put to work this year and is starting the dealmaking with its first foray into Web education.Google Capital, established by the search company to back late-stage technology ...

Microsoft Brings Lync, Skype Closer Together
InformationWeek
Microsoft faces strong competitors such as Cisco, Siemens, Google, and ShoreTel in the unified communication and collaboration market, which research firm IDC estimates will be worth $21 billion this year. Lync is formidable in its own right; in ...

Steve Perlman's Artemis unveils his 'breakthrough' wireless broadband ...
VentureBeat
Steve Perlman, the serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur who brought us OnLive and WebTV, has announced a new wireless broadband technology called pCell. The technology will enable full-speed wireless broadband to every mobile device, regardless of ...

more technology news below ( @ web version--link below)

19 February 2014

Windows 8 was designed for "computer illiterates"

No wonder everybody but a few casual users and consumers hates Windows 8! -- Love Windows 8? Then Microsoft has you pegged as a casual user, content consumer, a computer illiterate. For those who actually use their computers to get real work done -- power users, content creators -- get a MacBook or Chromebook!

Windows 8 UX designer on Metro: "It is the antithesis of a power user" - Neowin: " . . . Miller continued on to explain that the [Microsoft Windows 8] design team split users into two groups: content creators and content consumers: Content creators were explained to be power users: they have multiple windows open across multiple monitors, they sometimes even have virtual machines that also have their own nested levels of complexity. Content consumers were explained to be casual users who just use basic social media platforms, view photos, and so on. They were described as the computer illiterate younger siblings, the older grandparents, or the mother "who just wants to look up apple pie recipes." Windows 8 was designed for the latter group: the content consumers. This is also where Metro stems from: it is a platform that is "simple, clear, and does one thing (and only one thing) relatively easily." Miller described Metro as the antithesis of a power user...."

Google strikes upfront deal with ad giant Magna Global
USA TODAY
A group of technology firms, including Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft, created the NewFronts event a few years ago — a digital version of the TV industry's annual upfronts, where billions of dollars in ad slots for popular programming are purchased ...

Apple, Google cracking down on 'Flappy Bird' clones
CNN
(CNN) -- Your app store may be getting a lot less flappy. Both Apple and Googleappear to be cracking down on new apps taking advantage of the demise of "Flappy Bird," the addictively simple casual game that became an unlikely sensation before its ...

Microsoft makes Skype and Lync more compatible, adds Lync for Android tablets
PCWorld
After spending 2013 figuring out what to do with its various communication and collaboration tools, Microsoft's focus in 2014 is not unified communications, but “universal” communications, executives said. As the company opens its Lync Conference this ...

Microsoft: 'Remember, some XP-based embedded systems to get support to 2019'
ZDNet
As ZDNet has reported previously, Microsoft will continue making critical patches available for the embedded Windows XP systems running on ATMs until January 2016, compared with fulll Windows XP verions on desktops, for which there will be no more ...

Minyanville: Google, Microsoft make peace with partners
USA TODAY
That spring, Samsung Electronics released the first Galaxy S smartphone, which would later become the subject of a contentious legal battle with Apple. It was also in 2010 that the smartphone patent war went global, with the number of lawsuits ...

Apple Manager Mystique Tempts Google in Search for Talent: Tech
Bloomberg
Apple Inc. (AAPL) is known for producing great products, like the iPod. Now GoogleInc. (GOOG) with its acquisition of Nest Labs Inc. and its Apple alumni founder Tony Fadell, is hoping it produces great leaders who can replicate that success as well.

Microsoft marshals marketing, service, social for Dynamics CRM, aims anew at ...
PCWorld
Microsoft is about to make a fresh run at its CRM (customer relationship management) rival Salesforce.com with new capabilities for marketing automation, customer support and social media monitoring. The three components, which came about in part ...

Apple looking at cars, medical devices for growth: report
Chicago Tribune
Rival Google Inc. recently bought thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, robot maker Boston Dynamic and artificial intelligence startup DeepMind Technologies Ltd. The company has also been working on projects including Google Glass and self ...

Google Buys Israel's SlickLogin
Wall Street Journal (blog)
Google has acquired the Israeli startup SlickLogin, an apparent bet on a new way to more securely log into computer systems. Launched just a few months ago by veterans of the Israeli Defense Force's cybersecurity unit, SlickLogin had been working on a ...

Apple device sales have finally caught up with Windows
tuaw.com
And as John Gruber wrote in his short but astute summary of Microsoft's history, the amazing thing is that Gates actually realized this dream. By the mid-90s, if not a few years earlier even, we were living in a Windows world. At its peak, Windows ...

Elephants Comfort Each Other in Distress: Study
HealthDay
TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Asian elephants use touch and sound to console other elephants in distress, according to a new study. It's the first study to confirm that elephants comfort one another in difficult times, the researchers said....


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