Archive for March, 2012

Google imagines environment-aware mobile adverts

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

by the BBC

The patent potentially paves the way for a mobile phone fitted with sensors. If you have ever stood in the rain wondering where the nearest umbrella shop is, then the latest Google patent may interest you. The search giant has secured intellectual rights to a system that would serve ads based on environmental conditions. Google said forward-looking patents were useful for its portfolio, but it had no current plans to act on it. But privacy advocates have warned it could set a dangerous precedent.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17473802

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Data theft: Hacktivists ’steal more than criminals’

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

by the BBC

Hacktivists stole more data from large corporations than cybercriminals in 2011, according to a study of significant security incidents. The annual analysis of data breaches by Verizon uncovered a huge rise in politically motivated attacks. Verizon found that 58% of all the data stolen during breaches in 2011 was purloined by these groups. Hacktivists were hard to defend against, it said, as their attack strategies were much harder to predict. The Verizon report catalogued 855 incidents around the world in which 174 million records were stolen.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17428618

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Report: Mobile Devices Boost News Consumption

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

by David Zax, Technology Review

If you’re anything like me, mobile devices have transformed the way you consume the news. I’ll often fish out my iPhone and pull up New York Times headlines when waiting in line for just about anything. The bulk of the magazine journalism I read, too, I tend to read on my phone. The Instapaper add-on is one of just three I keep handy in my Chrome browser; I’m constantly clicking it, pushing long-form stories to my iPhone, which then becomes a personalized magazine of sorts for trips on the subway. A new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reveals that more and more Americans are consuming media on their tablets and smartphones. The picture isn’t all rosy, however. “For news, the new era brings mixed blessings,” writes Pew.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27666/?p1=blogs

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Rumor: A $149 Google Nexus Tablet?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

by David Zax, Technology Review

The rumors are coming from all angles. Let’s start with the most audacious one: that a forthcoming Google tablet might retail for as low as $149. That comes via a site called Android and Me, which cites a supply chain source calling the tablet “a done deal.” That’s an interesting price, undercutting the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet by 50 bucks. If it were comparable with those two devices in terms of specs, it might be hard for many consumers to justify shelling out for either of the former. (Then again, it’s easy to imagine Amazon slashing its own prices the instant it began to detect real competition; the Kindle Fire becomes a real moneymaker by serving as a portal to Amazon’s own content.) Android and Me classifies that $149 figure as a “rumor,” however, and I’m not aware of that site getting other big scoops in the past. It will be interesting to see if the site’s claims are borne out. CNET’s Brooke Crothers, a smart fellow when it comes to hardware, deems the rumor credible enough or at least compelling enough to reference in a recent post, as have other tech bloggers of repute.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27660/?p1=blogs

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Just How Much Is Your Privacy Worth?

Friday, March 30th, 2012

By Nic Fleming, Technology Review

Most of us would shy away from making purchases in a foreign country if we didn’t know the exchange rate. Yet, if privacy is the true currency of the Internet, as many argue, millions of us are doing that very thing every day. Meanwhile, Internet giants amend their privacy policies in ways that allow them to harvest and sell even more of our personal data. While privacy campaigners protest, users generally vote with their clicks and carry on regardless. So should we conclude the Internet generation is happy to trade its privacy for free or cheaper Web services? Not according to Nicola Jentzsch of the German Institute of Research in Berlin, and colleagues, who last week published research showing that most people prefer to protect their personal data when given a choice and that a significant proportion are willing to pay extra to do so.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39938/?p1=A2

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TVs and Tablets to Get the “Retina Display” Treatment

Friday, March 30th, 2012

By Tom Simonite, Technology Review

A manufacturing technique being adopted by companies that make gadgets for some of the biggest names in consumer tech will help them significantly improve the resolution of TV and tablet displays later this year. Applied Materials, which makes electronics manufacturing equipment, has introduced machines that make it feasible to use an advanced approach for making displays—previously limited to R&D—at a large scale. This will enable consumer electronics companies to put screens with much higher resolution into many gadgets, Applied Materials says.

http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/39952/?p1=A1

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Big Data for the Rest of Us, in One Start-Up

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By QUENTIN HARDY, NY Times

The best insight into the current state of the Big Data business may be a five-person start-up in Palo Alto, Calif. While the industry mostly gathers lots of data, or stores it in new cloud-based databases, the start-up, ClearStory Data, is building the biggest possible base of data consumers. ClearStory, which was formed last summer, is making software for ordinary business professionals. These customers will be able to blend their own corporate data with the large amounts of publicly available data, in search of new statistical insights. There just aren’t enough statisticians, the company figures, to address the demand corporations will have for Big Data.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/all-about-big-data-in-one-startup/?src=me&ref=technology

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Google Inc (GOOG) – YouTube Alone Could be Worth $45.7 Billion

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

by Eliot Turner, Value Walk

Want to invest in one of the best, most innovative startups in the world with taking none of the risk associated with a startup, and more potential upside than many of the most popularly watched private market web names like Facebook? Look no further than the strongest brand hiding behind the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) name: YouTube. YouTube is turning into a huge business, and were it a standalone start-up, the company would easily be one of the most valuable Internet companies and one of the most hyped. Instead we hear little about YouTube’s business other than the obligatory question and non-answer answer on each Google quarterly conference call about when/if/how much money YouTube will make.

http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/03/google-inc-goog-youtube/

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The Snails of War

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

By JAMES GORMAN, New York Times

The electric snail is here. There’s an electric cockroach too. A snail with implanted biocatalytic electrodes connected with crocodile clips to the external circuitry. Both are early experimental forays in a new line of research aimed at creating tiny, self-powered animal/machine hybrids as an alternative to tiny robots. Instead of starting from scratch and having to solve all those pesky movement problems that plague roboticists, some researchers have asked, why not start out with living creatures that already know how to walk and fly?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/21/science/the-snails-of-war-and-other-robotics-experiments.html?_r=1&ref=technology

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Windows 8 may have October launch date

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

by the Washington Post

The initial rollout will include devices running Intel Corp. and ARM Holdings Plc chips, making good on Microsoft’s promise to support both standards, said the people, who declined to be named because the plans are confidential. In embracing ARM technology, Microsoft is using the same kind of processors as Apple Inc.’s iPad. Still, there will be fewer than five ARM devices in the debut, compared with more than 40 Intel machines. The timing would let Microsoft target Christmas shoppers with the new software, which works with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs. The Redmond, Washington-based company, which hasn’t announced timing for the Windows 8 release, aims to take back sales lost to the iPad and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Apple released the third version of the iPad this month, posing an even stiffer challenge to Microsoft.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/windows-8-may-have-october-launch-date/2012/03/20/gIQA3Ci8PS_story.html

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Employers ask job seekers for Facebook passwords

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

by MANUEL VALDES and SHANNON MCFARLAND, Associated Press

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password. Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.  Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information.

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_20215796/employers-ask-job-seekers-facebook-passwords

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The robots are coming! Better get used to it

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

by Stephen Shankland, CNET news.com

Six times in the last month I’ve been struck by the increasing utility of robots performing tasks that a human otherwise would. I can’t imagine the number will be going down, either. The most recent example was Amazon’s $775 million acquisition of Kiva Systems, a company that automates warehouse operations with robots. “Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack, and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president of global customer fulfillment at Amazon, in a statement. In other words, robots do a lot of the grunt work to make the warehouse run faster. Amazon knows a lot about operating at large scale, and robots that might not make sense for a small company are a good match for huge warehouses wired directly to a huge e-commerce operation.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57400957-264/the-robots-are-coming-better-get-used-to-it/?tag=mncol;topStories

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New York Times cuts free reads in half

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

by Don Reisinger, CNET news.com

The New York Times has cut the number of free online articles that readers are allowed to access per month in half. The publishing company today said that starting in April readers will be able to access 10 stories for free each month. The New York Times previously allowed its readers to access 20 free stories online. The move is a not-so-subtle attempt on the Times’ part to push more of its readers to digital subscriptions. Those digital paid subscriptions have proven somewhat popular, the Times said. In the last year since they’ve been available, 454,000 subscriptions have been purchased for access to The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-57400710-17/new-york-times-cuts-free-reads-in-half/

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Apple on new iPad heat issue: It’s not as hot as you think

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

by Don Reisinger, CNET news.com

Some customers say Apple’s new iPad is running hotter than its predecessor. But the Cupertino, Calif.-based company says it’s just right. “The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications,” an Apple representative told CNET today. “If customers have any concerns, they should contact AppleCare.” All Things Digital was first to report of Apple’s response to heat claims regarding its newly released tablet.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-57400794-17/apple-on-new-ipad-heat-issue-its-not-as-hot-as-you-think/

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Khan Academy for the Masses – ShowMe Boasts 1.5M Lessons

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

by Startl

ShowMe, the startup with the ultimate iPad app and corresponding web platform, turns the iPad into a video whiteboard allows teachers to record lessons while drawing on the touchscreen whiteboard. The recorded video lesson can then be shared on the app and web where learners can browse video lessons on everything from math and physics to finance, history and the arts at their own pace. ShowMe has over 400k downloads since summer 2011 and with over 1.5 million lessons is taking the Khan Academy concept mainstream. ShowMe’s technology powers Princeton Review’s SAT Prep app.

http://startl.org/blog/2012/03/18/khan-academy-for-the-masses-showme-boasts-1-5m-lessons/

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New iPad: 10 Lessons Learned During the First Weekend

Monday, March 26th, 2012

By: Don Reisinger, eWeek

3. I don’t think iPad 2 owners should upgrade

I have several friends and family that currently own the iPad 2. And as one might expect, they wanted to find out if they should dump the old option to get the new one. I told them without thinking twice that jumping to the new iPad wouldn’t make much sense. Sure, the Retina Display is great and the LTE is a welcome addition, but they’re not worth another $629 and up. Current iPad 2 owners should stick with their favored tablet.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/New-iPad-10-Lessons-Learned-During-the-First-Weekend-409429/

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Dell’s Windows 8 Tablets Will Target iPad

Monday, March 26th, 2012

By: Nicholas Kolakowski, eWeek

Dell wants to pull an Apple in the tablet market. “We have a road map for tablets that we haven’t announced yet,” Dell chief commercial officer Steve Felice told Reuters March 16. “We don’t think that this market is closed off in any way.” Those announcements will apparently come in the second half of 2012, suggesting a holiday release for whatever Dell has tucked up its collective sleeve. Dell will concentrate its tablet efforts on Windows 8, Microsoft’s upcoming operating system also due later in the year. Although Apple’s iPad has made steady inroads into the enterprise, Dell apparently believes that its experience in areas such as security and interoperability will allow it to claim the allegiances of a significant number of businesses.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Dells-Windows-8-Tablets-Will-Target-iPad-783013/

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NetZero Offers Low-Cost 4G Wireless Service

Monday, March 26th, 2012

By: Nathan Eddy, eWeek

NetZero Wireless, a subsidiary of United Online Inc. announced the launch of NetZero 4G mobile broadband, protected Internet service for notebooks, iPads and other tablets, and netbooks. The service, which launches this week in more than 80 cities nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami, lets consumers or small and midsize businesses (SMBs) create a personal Internet connection without being tied to unsecure public hotspots at places like coffee shops, airports and hotels. The company’s 4G mobile broadband data plans start at just $9.95 per month. Additionally, customers are not required to sign a contract and can upgrade their data plan at any time. Each plan delivers 4G service with download speeds of up to 10M bps and upload speeds of up to 1.5M bps. All data plans, including the free plan, require the purchase of one of two access devices: the NetZero 4G HotSpot and the NetZero 4G Stick.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/NetZero-Offers-Free-4G-Wireless-Service-459981/

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Free mobile apps ‘drain battery faster’

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

by the BBC

Free mobile apps which use third-party services to display advertising consume considerably more battery life, a new study suggests. Researchers used a special tool to monitor energy use by several apps on Android and Windows Mobile handsets. Findings suggested that in one case 75% of an app’s energy consumption was spent on powering advertisements. Report author Abhinav Pathak said app makers must take energy optimisation more seriously. Free applications typically have built-in advertisements so developers can make money without having to charge for the initial app download.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17431109

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Startups Aim to Make Coding Fun

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

By Rachel Metz, Technology Review

For Jacob Arriola, a business development manager for a Spanish media company in Los Angeles, learning to program wasn’t a necessity. But figuring it might help with his job, he started using an online code-tutorial service called Treehouse in January. After three months with the paid service, he’s earned several dozen badges for completing programming quizzes and challenges, and watching coding-related video lessons. Arriola is one of a growing number of non-techies turning to Web-based sites to learn how to code, either for fun or in hopes of advancing their job prospects. And while the basic concept isn’t new, the execution is. The addition of video-game elements like badges and points is helping startups such as Treehouse take off.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39926/?p1=A2

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Android Ads Could Attack, Study Warns

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

By David Talbot, Technology Review

To guard against malicious behavior, apps that run on Android smart phones must ask politely for permission to do things like access your personal information, track your location, or transmit data via the Internet. But once they have approval, these apps can share the permissions with the advertising libraries they use to serve up ads, creating serious potential privacy and security vulnerabilities, researchers have found. Combing through 100,000 apps selected randomly from Google Play (the erstwhile Android Market), a team of researchers at North Carolina State University found that 48,139 of the ad libraries used by these apps tracked the user’s GPS location; 18,575 tracked the identity of the phone (its IMEI number); 4,190 let advertisers track the user via GPS; and 4,047 accessed the device’s phone number.

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39935/?p1=A1

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