Techno-News Blog

January 31, 2013

Ray Kurzweil Plans to Create a Mind at Google—and Have it Serve You

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by Will Knight, Technology Review

The technologist speaks about an ambitious plan to build a powerful artificial intelligence. Famed AI researcher and incorrigable singularity forecaster Ray Kurzweil recently shed some more light on what his new job at Google will entail. It seems that he does, indeed, plan to build a prodigious artificial intelligence, which he hopes will understand the world to a much more sophisticated degree than anything built before–or at least that will act as if it does. Kurzweil’s AI will be designed to analyze the vast quantities of information Google collects and to then serve as a super-intelligent personal assistant. He suggests it could eavesdrop on your every phone conversation and email exchange and then provide interesting and important information before you ever knew you wanted it. It sounds like a scary-smart version of Google Now

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/510121/ray-kurzweil-plans-to-create-a-mind-at-google-and-have-it-serve-you/

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Help! I’ve got Windows 8 and I miss my Start menu!

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by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

With Christmas now long behind us, one or two of you may well have been lucky enough to find a shiny new Windows 8 PC under the tree. After cleaning off the crapware, it’s time to use the thing, and that means digging into the new user interface. The Windows 8 user interface has many Windows users divided. The chief complaints are that Windows 8 has no Start button and that it has no Start menu, only the (full-screen, Metro-styled) Start screen. Secondary to these is the complaint that Windows 8 shows the Start screen immediately after logging in, rather than showing the desktop as prior versions of Windows have done. Getting to the desktop takes an extra click.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/01/help-ive-got-windows-8-and-i-miss-my-start-menu/

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Is Dell looking to kill PCs with “Project Ophelia”?

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by Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica

Dell’s Project Ophelia: an Android-based thin client that you can put in your pocket for around $50, eventually. ell announced its pocket client PC, called “project Ophelia,” on January 8, and demonstrated it at CES. Developed by Dell’s Wyse unit, Ophelia uses a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) to draw power to boot from an HDTV display, or it can be powered off a USB port. It has integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for connecting to a keyboard, a mouse, and the network, and it runs the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system with all of the functionality of a tablet. It can also be used to power virtual instances of other desktop operating systems on a remote server or in the cloud. n other words, it’s a fusion of Wyse’s thin client technology modeled after the capabilities of a Google Chromebook—except it can be carried in a pocket. The main drawbacks are that few HDTVs currently support MHL—though such support can be found in a number of Dell flat-panel displays.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/01/is-dell-looking-to-kill-pcs-with-project-ophelia/

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January 30, 2013

US employee ‘outsourced job to China’

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by the BBC

A security check on a US company has reportedly revealed one of its staff was outsourcing his work to China. The software developer, in his 40s, is thought to have spent his workdays surfing the web, watching cat videos on YouTube and browsing Reddit and eBay. He reportedly paid just a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in Shenyang to do his job. Operator Verizon says the scam came to light after the US firm asked it for an audit, suspecting a security breach.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21043693#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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Facebook adds free calling feature for US iPhones

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by the BBC

Facebook has added a feature in its mobile phone app that allows free calling for US iPhone users. Users can now make calls to each other via the Facebook Messenger app anywhere they have a wi-fi or a cellular-data connection. The feature could be a boon for heavy talkers as they would avoid carrier call charges. Facebook said it was working on adding the feature to its Messenger app for Android and BlackBerry users. Within the app, all a person needs to do is open a conversation with a partner, tap the “i” icon in the upper right hand corner and select “Free Call”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21059611#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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US general warns over Iranian cyber-soldiers

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by the BBC

Gen Shelton issued the warning during a briefing given to reporters about the US Air Force division he heads that includes America’s cyber-troops. He said the 2010 Stuxnet virus attack on Iran’s Natanz uranium processing plant had generated a “reaction” by Iran that had led it to rapidly improve its defensive and offensive cyber-capabilities. Since then Iran has been hit again and again by viruses. In December 2012, the Stuxnet virus returned and hit companies in the southern Hormozgan region. That improved capability had helped it protect itself against subsequent attacks on oil terminals and other manufacturing plants. Its capability might well be turned against Iran’s enemies in the coming years, he said. “They are going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Gen Shelton, “with the potential capabilities that they will develop over the years and the potential threat that will represent to the United States.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21075781#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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January 29, 2013

Congress Sets Sights On Fixing Privacy Rights

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by Adam Popescu, ReadWrite

The Senate will be taking on much-needed digital rights legislation in the new 113th Congress, including requiring law enforcement to have warrants before poking around online communications. In a speech at Georgetown University Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). stressed the need for defending civil liberties, protecting privacy, improving transparency and making a push to require a warrant before law enforcement has carte blanche to read people’s emails, social media messages and other modes of online communication.

http://readwrite.com/2013/01/18/new-congress-privacy-agenda-unvelied

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Every Company Is Up For Disruption, So Keep Your Products Simple

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by VICTOR BELFOR, Tech Crunch

The process of Low End Disruption is beautifully described in Clayton Christensen’s series of books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution and The Innovator’s DNA. If you haven’t read them, you should. What’s amazing about these books is not only how important their conclusions are but how well researched they are. So why is this relevant to the deal that I mentioned above? Because I believe the process starts much sooner now. Companies that are barely out of the gate are getting disrupted. The rapid pace of innovation we are experiencing, plus the low costs of starting a company and the reasonable availability of venture capital, add up to a large number of startups fighting for survival in very close quarters.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/19/every-company-is-up-for-disruption-so-keep-your-products-simple/

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9 trends to watch for in wearable tech

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by Christian Lindholm, Koru

With advances in sensors and wireless, the age of wearable tech is swiftly approaching. Christian Lindholm, of design firm Koru, explains the trends his firm is tracking. The wearables business is gaining momentum and is one of the most exciting markets of the digital age. We at Koru decided to share some of the key trends we believe will emerge this year. To quote Gary Hamel, a hero of mine: today’s niche markets are tomorrow’s mass markets.

http://gigaom.com/2013/01/19/9-trends-to-watch-for-in-wearable-tech/

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January 28, 2013

Lens-less camera emerges from metamaterials work

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by the BBC

Collision avoidance systems could emerge from the lens-less imaging research. US scientists have used metamaterials to build the imaging system, which samples infra-red and microwave light. Metamaterials are materials that have properties purposefully designed rather than determined by their chemistry. The sensor also compresses the images it captures in contrast to current compression systems, which only squash images after they are taken.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21057270#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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10 Consumer Computing Devices Ideal to Bring to the Enterprise

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By Don Reisinger, eWeek

Bringing your favorite smartphone or table to the office and expecting to access corporate data would have been considered anathema just several years ago, but this is now more commonplace than ever. Today, some companies are even choosing to deploy one-time consumer-favorite smartphones and tablets as company-authorized equipment. The rise of the bring-your-own-device trend occurred because of the productivity gains companies observed by letting employees use the devices they liked best to do their work at the office or on the road. BYOD also reduces the overall cost of deploying products in-office. For a growing number of companies, giving BYOD the green light is just fine. But deciding which consumer products are the right ones to support at the office isn’t easy.

http://www.eweek.com/mobile/slideshows/10-consumer-computing-devices-ideal-to-bring-to-the-enterprise/

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Bill Gates, Ken Robinson, and TED Are Coming To PBS

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by Katie Lepi, edudemic

TED Talks is expanding. No longer relegated to your computer or mobile device, it’s making the jump into the more mainstream media. It’s headed to PBS. On April 16th, PBS is going to air the first televised TED event, dubbed TED Talks Education. It’ll be filmed a bit before the airing on April 4th in New York City. The first three speakers include Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Bill Gates, and Sir Ken Robinson. TED says there will be more speakers (including “dynamic teachers, speakers, and performers”) announced soon.

http://edudemic.com/2013/01/ted-talks-education-pbs/

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January 27, 2013

What A Typical BYOD Program Really Looks Like

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by Fredric Paul, ReadWrite

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – is one of the hottest trends in IT right now. The idea is to let employees use their own preferred smartphones, tablets and/or laptops, and have the company’s technology department allow them to connect to company networks and applications, as well as make sure they’re secure and supported. But what are companies really doing about BYOD? To find out, ReadWrite ran a survey of our readers. (See Is Bring Your Own Device – BYOD – Changing Your Company?) The survey attracted 261 responses, and 176 completed every question. While this is far from a scientific or statistically valid study, the results do offer some intriguing data points as to how BYOD is being used.

http://readwrite.com/2013/01/18/readwrite-survey-results-what-a-typical-byod-program-really-looks-like

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Digital Natives And Doctors Rejoice, Google Handwrite Gets Faster And Smarter

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by Drew Olanoff, Tech Crunch

Google Handwrite, a small but helpful tool that the search team introduced last year, has gotten a bit of an upgrade today. The tool allows you to turn on a mode when you’re on your mobile device, to “write” your search. If you have sloppy handwriting, then you will be extremely happy to learn more about today’s news. A part of the update today is the ability for Google Handwrite to understand overlapping characters, and write more than one Chinese character at a time, if that’s your search language of choice.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/18/digital-natives-and-doctors-rejoice-google-handwrite-gets-faster-and-smarter/

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Line, The Messaging App That Took Japan By Storm, Crosses 100M Users And Enters The U.S.

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by KIM-MAI CUTLER, Tech Crunch

Line, a messaging app made by South Korea’s Naver Corp. that took off in Japan, just crossed 100 million users globally 19 months after it originally launched. The app is one of the leading contenders in smartphone messaging in Asia and faces off against Tencent’s WeChat and KakaoTalk. As I’ve written before, when rumors emerged that Facebook was in acquisition talks with WhatsApp, global messaging is very fragmented with many players that do well in specific territories in Asia and Europe. While Naver didn’t share details on daily or monthly actives, Line’s numbers put it up there among the top smartphone messaging players to watch.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/18/line-100m-users/

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January 26, 2013

Here’s why Surface Pro is less portable than an Ultrabook

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By Matt Baxter-Reynolds, ZDNet

Surface Pro might seem like the ultimate portable PC, but is it? And might you be better off with any other touch-capable Ultrabook? A lot of people I’ve spoken to about their intention to buy a Surface Pro have cited that they want something “more portable” than an Ultrabook. What I’ve been saying to them is that I believe the Surface Pro will be much less portable than an Ultrabook. They asked me to prove it. I’m going to prove it to you too.

http://www.zdnet.com/heres-why-surface-pro-is-less-portable-than-an-ultrabook-7000009890/

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‘We thought we’d sell 1,000′: The inside story of the Raspberry Pi

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By Nick Heath, ZDNet

The $35 Linux Raspberry Pi computer has sparked a coding revolution. Here’s the inside story of the Pi, from its inspiration and development to plans for its future. Today more than 700,000 Raspberry Pi computers have been shipped to modders who are fitting them to robotic drones in the sky and underwater, to hobbyists designing home automation systems, and to wannabe coders looking to build their first programs. So what, exactly, is the Raspberry Pi? The Pi is a credit card-sized device and one of the lowest-cost computers available. At first glance it looks nothing like what is generally considered a computer, nothing more than a bare board and ports, but it is perfectly capable. The board is powerful enough to stream 1080p video, browse the web or write documents, and it was designed to be portable enough to carry around without breaking. A number of distros of Linux run on the Raspberry Pi, including ArchLinux, Debian “wheezy” and Raspbian — a Pi-optimised version of Debian.

http://www.zdnet.com/we-thought-wed-sell-1000-the-inside-story-of-the-raspberry-pi-7000009718/

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The Chromebook — it’s like an iPad, but with a keyboard

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By Matt Baxter-Reynolds, ZDNet

I rarely write reviews of products that I am really, really smitten by. So stand by, because the Chromebook is fantastic. Um… it’s amazing! I really wasn’t expecting it to be any good. A couple of years ago I had one of the first ones on order, but cancelled it as I although I was keen to know what it was like the whole premise seemed stupid. Who would want a laptop computer that only ran a web browser and that always needs an internet connection? This then is the entire Chromebook proposition. It’s just a web browser. The Acer I bought has 16GB of storage (which is a lot, considering in principle you never store anything locally), and 2GB of RAM. When you boot it up for the first time it takes you through getting a network connection going and it then asks you to log into your Google account.

http://www.zdnet.com/the-chromebook-its-like-an-ipad-but-with-a-keyboard-7000009905/

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January 25, 2013

Smartphones for BYO

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By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor

Effectively, outside of our classrooms, smartphones have already replaced almanacs and atlases for most simple ready reference questions. Why don’t we let students do so in classrooms? We let our high school students use their cell phones during lunch as an incentive to reduce tardies. The world didn’t end and, in fact, the lunchroom was calmer for some time. Unfortunately, some students just like to be late so that privilege was lost for a time last quarter. As smartphones seem to increase screen size and memory, we need to take another look at them as the de facto BYO device of choice in schools.

http://www.schoolcio.com/Default.aspx?tabid=136&entryid=5274

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Mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn proposes tablet computers for every New York City school kid

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BY ERIN DURKIN, NY Daily News

City schools should ditch textbooks and replace them with tablets, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed Tuesday. “Technology has changed what we need to teach, and it’s also changed how we need to teach,” the mayoral contender said in outlining a $300 million education agenda that she would implement as mayor. Quinn said the $100 million spent on textbooks every year by the school system would be enough to buy tablets for every student. She acknowledged that to stay within budget, administrators would have to find open-source texts and interactive programs for free online.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/tablet-kid-quinn-article-1.1240788

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Dell’s ‘Project Ophelia’ might be my favorite gadget at CES

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By Andrew Nusca, ZDNet

Ophelia allows you to convert almost any TV or computer monitor into a full-on computer. Simply plug it in, ensure you have a reliable Internet connection and watch as Google Android (version 4.1 “Jellybean”) boots up and gives you everything from web browsing to apps to keyboard and mouse support. All that computing muscle? It’s in the cloud. Ophelia is a pocketable gateway to your personal datacenter. With the pocketable, self-powered Ophelia, the cloud benefits remain the same: nothing of import is stored on the local device; it can be locked down by IT with a click, using software-as-a-service management; it’s cheap enough that leaving it in a hotel room wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. (Face it, you’ve spent more at the bar.) Plug it into an available display, and access everything you were working on back at the office, wherever you are.

http://www.zdnet.com/dells-project-ophelia-might-be-my-favorite-gadget-at-ces-7000009542/

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