Top tech stories of the day for Friday 7 November 2013
Nov08

Top tech stories of the day for Friday 7 November 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Here’s what Google’s mystery barge is going to look like –  What’s 50-feet tall, 250-feet long and outfitted with decorative “fish fin” sails? Google’s so-called mystery barge, apparently. Mum’s still the word in Mountain View, but at the Port of San Francisco, details about the floating technology scow are starting to emerge. Documents obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle through the Freedom of Information Act describe an “unprecedented artistic structure” built from recycled shipping containers with collapsable sails “reminiscent of fish fins, which will remind visitors that they are on a seaworthy vessel.” Here’s what Google’s mystery barge is going to look like   NSA reportedly cracks down on staff who thought it was okay to share their logins with Edward Snowden – In a slightly ironic twist for the National Security Agency, Reuters reports that as many as 25 members of its staff have been “removed from their assignments” because they shared their private passwords with Edward Snowden while he worked there. A number of government offices are currently trying to find out just how Snowden got hold of so much confidential data, and sources close to those investigations now claim that the PRISM whistleblower used his position as a systems admin to dupe colleagues into handing over their passwords. NSA reportedly cracks down on staff who thought it was okay to share their logins with Edward Snowden   Meet the ambitious little girl who ushered in Twitter’s IPO – NEW YORK, NEW YORK — One person can change the world. That’s the message Vivienne Harr, the philanthropic nine-year old behind Make A Stand, relayed to VentureBeat Thursday morning, just minutes after she rang the NYSE opening bell that kicked off Twitter’s IPO. (She had a little help from actor Patrick Stewart.) “Today we rang the bell for hope and freedom,” said Harr, beaming. “You don’t have to be big and powerful to change the world.”  Meet the ambitious little girl who ushered in Twitter’s IPO   Insiders say Elop could sell off Xbox and cancel Bing if he became Microsoft CEO –  Bloomberg has spoken to three anonymous sources who claim to have knowledge of Stephen Elop’s current mindset, and who say he’d consider making some radical moves if he become Microsoft’s CEO. Now, bearing in mind there could be some seriously heavy axes being ground here, the details of what Elop might “consider” doing at Microsoft look almost designed to stir a fuss among investors and customers alike. Insiders say Elop could sell off Xbox and cancel Bing if he became Microsoft CEO   Third Tesla battery fire in...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 6 November 2013
Nov07

Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 6 November 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Twitter opens with a bang, prices at $45.10 a share, goes as high as $50.09 – The stock began trading at $45.10. It was a textbook opening, the opposite of Facebook’s IPO flub. That price means Twitter potentially left about $1.25 billion on the table when they set the strike price of $26 a share last night. But this is a delicate dance, meant to reward the bankers and their clients who agreed to buy up the stock ahead of time. Twitter was most concerned about having a clean opening that will give the stock positive momentum, the opposite of what occurred with Facebook. Twitter opens with a bang, prices at $45.10 a share, goes as high as $50.09   The CIA is paying AT&T over $10 million a year for foreign call logs – AT&T receives over $10 million each year from the CIA to provide phone records during counterterrorism investigations, reports The New York Times. AT&T’s cooperation in these investigations is said to be voluntary, and not mandated by any type of order. Under the deal, the CIA is reportedly able to supply terrorism suspects’ phone numbers to AT&T, which then queries its database for call records. The CIA is paying AT&T over $10 million a year for foreign call logs   Microsoft finally takes on Google Docs with real-time editing in Office Web Apps – Microsoft’s range of Office Web Apps are finally getting real-time editing today. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are all being updated with the ability to support co-authoring that’s similar to Google Docs. While Office Web Apps has supported the editing and sharing of documents, it lacked the real-time element that’s essential for collaborative editing amongst groups of users. Microsoft promised the support back in June, and the improvements now place the company’s offerings in a position to compete with Google Docs fully. Microsoft finally takes on Google Docs with real-time editing in Office Web Apps   Google confirms it owns mystery barges, hints they’ll be interactive spaces for ‘new technology’ – Google has finally confirmed that it’s indeed responsible for those mysterious barges currently floating at several locales in the US. Even better, the company has revealed the first hint of what their purpose is. In a statement provided to The Verge, a Google spokesperson dismissed several theories that have been offered up in recent weeks, while leaving one popular explanation on the table. “Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above,” the company said. “Although it’s still early days and things...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Wednesday 6 November 2013
Nov06

Top tech stories of the day for Wednesday 6 November 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The Silk Road is back. A relaunched version of the online drug marketplace has gone live today, joining existing alternatives that have seen a surge in popularity after authorities shut down the original Silk Road and busted its alleged mastermind. Silk Road 2.0 again tries to conceal the identity of both buyers and sellers by hiding itself behind the anonymizing network Tor, and Bitcoin remains the site’s preferred currency. The site’s administrator has even taken on the moniker of Dread Pirate Roberts, the same pseudonym that authorities believe was used by Ross Ulbricht before his capture. Silk Road 2.0 launches with goal of resurrecting web’s most popular drug marketplace   Google engineers issue “Fuck you” to NSA over surveillance scandal – Two Google engineers recently took to Google+ to give blistering public critiques of the ongoing NSA surveillance scandal. Both posts come in the wake of last week’s Washington Post story that outlined the NSA’s clandestine interception of Google and Yahoo user information in a project codenamed MUSCULAR, in alleged conjunction with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The report, based on documents released by Edward Snowden, detailed how data is collected by the agencies, coupled with a diagram showing that now-notorious smiley face. Google engineers issue “Fuck you” to NSA over surveillance scandal   What’s the cheapest way to get HBO and internet in America? – Comcast — the largest cable operator in the US — made quite a few headlines when it recently made a surprising gesture to cord cutters. It introduced a package called Internet Plus, which offers 25 / 5 Mbps internet as well as access to HBO and roughly 10 local channels for a promotional rate of $39.99 per month. The plan also includes Comcast’s own streaming video service Streampix and, most importantly, HBO Go, which lets you stream almost anything from the premium channel’s incredible stable of content. What’s the cheapest way to get HBO and internet in America?   Bloomberg out and de Blasio in: NYC’s tech scene just lost its cheerleader – Most business interests in New York City are a bit wary of the newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio, a populist who has spent his career in the government and nonprofit sectors. The tech startup industry is especially nervous: January marks the end of a period of coddling by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the beginning of an administration led by a man who has very different ideas about tech in the city. Bloomberg out and de Blasio in: NYC’s tech scene just lost its cheerleader   Amazon offers physical bookstores a cut of Kindle e-book purchases, and just enough rope – Just as Kobo has cozied up to...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Monday 4 November 2013
Nov04

Top tech stories of the day for Monday 4 November 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. BlackBerry abandons $4.7 billion rescue deal and replaces CEO Thorsten Heins –  If you were looking for positive news about BlackBerry’s future, we’d suggest you look away. Canada’s favorite smartphone maker has announced that its $4.7 billion rescue deal with Fairfax has collapsed – forcing the outfit to switch to Plan B. Instead, BlackBerry will raise $1 billion off its own bat, while current CEO Thorsten Heins has been forced out. While the board can look for a replacement, John S. Chen, former CEO of Sybase, which is an enterprise services company that’s now part of SAP, will take the reigns as an interim CEO. BlackBerry abandons $4.7 billion rescue deal and replaces CEO Thorsten Heins   Amazon discounts Kindles for a day in celebration of new FAA rules –  Amazon is today celebrating the FAA’s relaxed stance on in-flight electronics the best way it knows how: the online retailer is holding a sale. For one day only, Amazon is cutting 15 percent from the cost of its 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD, and the entry-level $69 Kindle. You can redeem Amazon’s offer by entering promotional code “ThnksFAA” during the checkout process. The discount brings the 7-inch HDX down to $195, with the Kindle Fire HD falling to $118. Amazon’s base Kindle drops to just $59 with the savings, but unfortunately the Kindle Paperwhite – perhaps the best e-reader on the market right now – isn’t part of today’s promotion. Amazon discounts Kindles for a day in celebration of new FAA rules     IBM accusing Twitter of patent infringement, wants to strike a deal –  Twitter’s previously said it wanted to steer clear of patent litigation and focus on our feeds, but IBM may other ideas. In a tweak to its pre-IPO S-1 filing with the US SEC, Twitter let slip that it’s recently received a letter from IBM accusing it of infringing three of the company’s patents concerning: “efficient retrieval of uniform resource allocators,” “presenting advertising in an interactive service,” and “programmatic discovery of common contacts.” There’s no need for lawyering up just yet, as IBM would rather “negotiate a business resolution” — or get paid off, in other words — before lodging any legal complaint. IBM accusing Twitter of patent infringement, wants to strike a deal   Windows Phone overtakes iOS in Italy and makes progress in Europe – There’s good news for Microsoft’s mobile efforts, as according to a latest report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showing data for the three months to September 2013, Windows Phone has overtaken iOS in Italy and now...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Friday 1 November 2013
Nov01

Top tech stories of the day for Friday 1 November 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Apple iPad Air goes on sale today in 42 countries, prices start at $499 –  Anyone in need a full-sized iPad that’s lighter than last year’s model can start hammering Apple’s online store now. The new iPad Air is now on sale, marking Apple’s biggest tablet launch yet. Starting with Australia, by the close of November 1st, it will have landed in 42 countries, and you know what? We kind of liked it. Online orders can be placed at the source link, or you can visit your nearest Apple retailer in person for instant iPad gratification. Apple iPad Air goes on sale today in 42 countries, prices start at $499   Google’s mysterious San Francisco barge may host a modular showroom – For roughly a week, San Franciscans have been speculating about a mysterious, Google-owned barge moored off Treasure Island. Is it a secret lab? A parking lot for autonomous cars? According to sources speaking to local TV station KPIX 5, the truth is slightly less exciting — if still very strange. The containers onboard the ship are reportedly for a modular Google X showroom with a party deck for VIPs on top. The company could reassemble its venue anywhere in the world, letting it pitch technologies like Google Glass without having to rent a building… or find solid ground, for that matter. Just don’t expect to pay a visit any time soon. The tipsters claim that the project is on hold for various reasons, including a need to comply with naval regulations. Google isn’t commenting on the barge’s true purpose; however, you’re more than welcome to present alternative theories in the comments. Google’s mysterious San Francisco barge may host a modular showroom   Sony launches 8 million flower petals from a volcano to promote its 4K TVs – In a flashy effort to illustrate just how much detail is packed into its 4K TVs, Sony has released a new commercial that features 8 million petals erupting from a volcano in Costa Rica. The waves of red, pink, yellow, and purple engulf a nearby village, and the cinematography here immediately evokes memories of the famous bouncing ball ad Sony produced for its Bravia TV line. It’s a gorgeous production, but there’s also some significance to the visuals: the 8 million petals represent each individual pixel contained in Sony’s 4K sets — four times the detail of 1080p. Sony launches 8 million flower petals from a volcano to promote its 4K TVs   Beautiful, interactive feature from ‘The Guardian’ reviews all the NSA revelations –  The Guardian has come out with...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 31 October 2013
Oct31

Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 31 October 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. FAA officially allowing electronics during all phases of flight – The FAA is officially allowing the use of some electronics during takeoff and landing, not just while in the air. In a statement, the agency said it was immediately providing guidance to airlines that would let them develop policies, which could vary by company. Airlines will need to submit a plan to manage electronics, including new training for flight attendants. Once these plans are approved, passengers will no longer be asked to “set all switches to the ‘off’ position’” before takeoff. FAA officially allowing electronics during all phases of flight       Ingress beta for Android now open to all augmented reality fans –  For the past year, the Ingress beta has been as much an exclusive club as it is an augmented reality game — you’ve had to request an invitation to play. Google and Niantic Labs must want more of us to join the party, though, as they’ve quietly dropped the invitation requirement. Any Android user interested in virtual turf wars now just has to download the beta from Google Play to start claiming territory. The promised iOS version still isn’t available, although Niantic Labs’ Brandon Badger recently told AllThingsD that the port should be available sometime in 2014. Ingress beta for Android now open to all augmented reality fans   Edward Snowden gets a tech support job at ‘major’ Russian website –  On the run from the US government at a secret location somewhere in Russia, Edward Snowden has decided to do something productive with his time. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has informed a Russian news agency that Snowden has secured employment with a “major” Russian website and will start work on Friday. Neither the particular employer nor Snowden’s exact duties have been detailed, other than to say that he’ll be performing a “technical support” role. Edward Snowden gets a tech support job at ‘major’ Russian website   Apple is working on a fix for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s keyboard problems –  If you’ve had issues with your shiny new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s keyboard and trackpad not working properly, Apple has your back. Cupertino has posted to its support forums that an update for the unresponsive inputs is en route, while also suggesting that closing the display for a full minute to reset the relevant hardware might be an interim solution. If that doesn’t work, we’ll let you know when the proper patch arrives. Apple is working on a fix for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s keyboard problems   Time Warner Cable lost record...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Tuesday 29 October 2013
Oct29

Top tech stories of the day for Tuesday 29 October 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Motorola’s ‘Project Ara’ smartphone platform switches out hardware as easily as apps –  We were intrigued by the Phonebloks concept phone that teased the ability to switch out a handset’s components the way most users change ringtones, and now Motorola is putting its resources behind it. Called Project Ara, the advanced Technology and Products group is working with Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens on an “endoskeleton (endo) and modules.” Announced this evening on the company blog by Paul Eremenko, the company says it’s already “done deep technical work” and is opening the process up to the community and volunteers to begin designing hardware modules. Motorola’s ‘Project Ara’ smartphone platform switches out hardware as easily as apps   Google smartwatch with Google Now coming sooner than expected, ‘ready within months’ – A Google produced smartwatch is close to entering production, says a report from theWall Street Journal. The Google watch, which has been rumored multiple times, will run Android with a heavy focus on the company’s Google Now personal assistant. Google Now provides useful at-a-glance information such as travel alerts, weather reports, and news based on your email, browsing history, and location. According to WSJ‘s anonymous source, the watch could be “ready within months.” Google smartwatch with Google Now coming sooner than expected, ‘ready within months’   Samsung shipped more phones than Apple, Nokia and LG combined – Samsung recorded a 17% increase in year on year sales in the third quarter of 2014. Shipping 120 million phones on their way to grabbing 29% of the Global mobile phone market. For the same quarter Nokia managed 15% market share to head off Apple with 8% and leave LG trailing on 4.4%. The global mobile phone market includes both smart phones and feature phones. Global mobile phone shipments grew 7 percent annually from 390.4 million units in Q3 2012 to 417.8 million in Q3 2013. Smartphones accounted for 60 percent of total shipments and feature phones the remaining 40 percent. The 7 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is at its highest level since 2011, and a recovery is underway, driven by healthier demand for 4G and 3G models across Asia, Europe and North America. Samsung shipped more phones than Apple, Nokia and LG combined   Amazon’s Matchbook service now live, works with over 70,000 books for $3 or less –  Amazon’s Matchbook service, which offers e-book versions of hard copies of books like Amazon’s Autorip offers digital versions of physical music, is now live. The service supports over 70,000 books at launch with digital equivalents costing $3 or less. The oldest books...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Monday 28 October 2013
Oct28

Top tech stories of the day for Monday 28 October 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Nielsen to add web viewers to future TV ratings, with a little help from Facebook –  After several months of testing within the industry, Nielsen is finally ready to reveal its efforts to bake mobile viewing habits into its TV ratings system. In a wider roll-out of what the company already monitors, it’ll launch an SDK for participating broadcasters in mid-November that will encompass both old-fashioned screens and those not-so-new upstarts (including DVRs, internet-connected TVs, tablets, smartphones and browsers). To work out which stream is being watched where, Nielsen will parse together “big data and a census-style measurement approach.” Nielsen to add web viewers to future TV ratings, with a little help from Facebook   Livescribe’s beautiful new smartpen turns pen and paper into apps and pixels – We may be constantly staring into our phones and laptops, but Livescribe CEO Gilles Bouchard says pen and paper are more popular than ever — and he has data to back it up. We want to write and draw the way we always have, he says, but we also want all the sharing, instant access, and searchability that come with our many apps and websites. So Bouchard and Livescribe set out to build a device to bridge that gap, and today it’s announcing the result — the new Livescribe 3. Livescribe’s beautiful new smartpen turns pen and paper into apps and pixels   Xbox One dashboard video highlights gaming, TV, and app switching – Microsoft has shown off parts of its Xbox One dashboard previously, but the company has now started to demonstrate it fully just under a month until the console is released. In a new video briefly posted to the official Xbox One site, Microsoft demonstrates apps, games, and TV switching from the very start of powering up the console to switching it off — all with the voice-enabled Kinect camera. We’ve seen dashboard demo leaks, but this latest official video details the login experience and navigation around the dashboard to launch various apps and games using Kinect. Xbox One dashboard video highlights gaming, TV, and app switching   Samsung to provide courtside tech for the NBA in reported $100 million deal – If you’re tired of product placements in your favorite dramatic series, you won’t get any relief if you switch over to hoops instead. Samsung has confirmed that it just signed on to become the official NBA provider of televisions and tablets in a deal which the WSJ says is worth $100 million. That means fans will see close calls being reviewed by refs on Samsung tablets, for instance, while the...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 24 October 2013
Oct24

Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 24 October 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. BBM for Android’s Google Play page tarnished by hundreds of fake reviews –  BlackBerry’s BBM app was downloaded 10 million times within 24 hours, but at least on Android, some of its many positive reviews seem to come from a less than savory source. Writer Matt Baxter-Reynolds noted yesterday that a huge number of reviews contained the exact same praise for BBM: Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth. Blogger Terence Eden looked through more reviews and found more evidence that somebody was astroturfing the Play Store. In addition to the sheer numbers he found, at least one person seemed to have accidentally copied and pasted more of the text than intended: “Dear Mr Ahmed, please post the following comment on the new BlackBerry Messenger APP…” BBM for Android’s Google Play page tarnished by hundreds of fake reviews   YouTube building an on-demand music streaming service with free and paid tiers – The rumor mill’s been churning out tales of a forthcoming YouTube music streaming service for months now, and today Billboard published a new story with a startling amount of detail about it. According to unnamed sources, YouTube’s working on an on-demand music service with both free and paid tiers. Apparently, the ad-supported free version will provide unlimited, on-demand access to a whole host of tracks on any device, thanks to the licensing agreements Google struck for its Google Play All Access music service. Aside from the obvious — removing ads from the equation — it’s unclear what folks will get for their money should they choose to opt for the paid version. YouTube building an on-demand music streaming service with free and paid tiers   Microsoft erects a 383-inch Surface tablet in the center of London – Microsoft has a fascination with big screens. The software giant has demonstrated Windows 8 on its 82-inch Perceptive Pixel PC and created giant displays with Kinect built-in. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates even uses a giant 80-inch Windows 8 display occasionally. Today, however, Microsoft is going one step further. At one of London’s biggest tourist attractions, Trafalgar Square, the company has created a 383-inch Surface tablet. Microsoft erects a 383-inch Surface tablet in the center of London   The Mac App Store is upgrading illegal and trial software for free – Along with a free update to OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple promised owners of its iWork and iLife suites free upgrades to the latest versions, as well as anyone that bought a Mac after October 1st. However, thanks to a flaw in the...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 23 October 2013
Oct23

Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 23 October 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. BBM for Android and iOS notches more than 10 million downloads in 24 hours – By the looks of BlackBerry’s stats, millions were not only unfazed by BBM’s launch hiccup on Android and iOS, but were also excited to get the app. The company formerly known as RIM says that BBM has been downloaded more than 10 million times within 24 hours since its release on the platforms. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean there are now 10 million devices out there sending and receiving BlackBerry-flavored messages: a boatload of people, including this editor, are still waiting for activation emails before they can even take it for a spin. BBM Video, Voice and Channels haven’t made it to the application just yet, but they — along with other features — are still on the roadmap. BBM for Android and iOS notches more than 10 million downloads in 24 hours   White House fires senior official after years of Twitter leaks and insults – A senior White House official who served on President Obama’s National Security Staff has been fired for leaking internal information and insulting public officials on Twitter. Jofi Joseph, 40, was a director of nuclear non-proliferation at the White House and had been anonymously posting updates to the widely followed @NatSecWonk Twitter account since 2011. The Daily Beast first reported the firing on Tuesday, and a government official later confirmed the move to Reuters. White House fires senior official after years of Twitter leaks and insults   Belkin brandishes iPad Air keyboard cases and accessories –  You’ll likely need a new keyboard case to go with that iPad Air, and Belkin’s just revealed some of the very first options. The Qode Ultimate Keyboard Case leads the brand’s parade of new accessories, and sports a black or silver aluminum body and an impressive 264 hours of active battery life for $130. If shelling out that cash after buying an iPad Air is hard to swallow, cast your eyes upon the Qode ThinType Keyboard Case. Spending $30 nets you just 79 hours of active use, but still preserves an aluminum build. Meanwhile, if you’d rather get something less business-like and more whimsical, the $80 Qode Slim Style keyboard case (in black, red, topaz, purple and delicious-sounding sorbet) is likely more your style. Belkin brandishes iPad Air keyboard cases and accessories   iOS 7.03 fixes iPhone 5S sensor problems, ‘sensor-gate’ is over –  The iOS 7.03 update that Apple released today completely fixes Apple’s iPhone 5S sensor problems. Apple’s flagship iPhone 5S — and 5C — were experiencing significant sensor malfunctions. In my testing, they were consistently two to...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 22 October, 2013
Oct22

Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 22 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.We are in eye of a tech-storm with major product announcements from Nokia and Apple, BlackBerry Messenger has (sort of) launched as well. Our site will update throughout the next few hours with all of the Apple announcements. In the mean time enjoy the top tech stories of the day Pre-Apple Keynote. Nokia has released a raft of new products today including a very impressive Windows Tablet, a giant phone and major software updates. Nokia Lumia 2520: a closer look at Nokia’s first Windows tablet Nokia Lumia 1520: a first look at a 6-inch giant Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 1320 hands-on Nokia Lumia 1320: a budget Windows Phone twice the size of your wallet Nokia Camera app now available to download, combines Smart and Pro Cam Vine for Windows Phone briefly demonstrated at Nokia World Flipboard for Windows 8: a Live Tile twist similar to Android and iOS   Farewell, fragmentation? Google shells out $23M for Android-boosting company FlexyCore – Google just spent $23.1 million to make sure future low-end Android phones run just as well as high-end ones. Google has acquired France’s FlexyCore, the company behind Android performance amplifier DroidBooster.While owners of high-end devices rarely need such an app, using Droidbooster is often a major boon for people trying to breathe life into their dated Android handsets — especially if they’re trying to run newer apps. Or at least it used to. Though Google only confirmed the acquisition today, the company has already taken Droidbooster off Google Play. Good apps die hard. Farewell, fragmentation? Google shells out $23M for Android-boosting company FlexyCore   Netflix tops 40 million customers total, more paid US subscribers than HBO – Netflix’s results for the third quarter have arrived, and one of its most important numbers, the total amount of US subscribers (not including trial accounts) has reached 29.93 million, more than HBO’s last count of 28.7 million. Last year at this time it had notched 25.1 million US customers, and Including trial subscribers it passed HBO’s customer base back in April. Internationally it’s up to 9.19 million subscribers and is anticipating that it will add more than three million customers total in the next quarter. New original series Orange is the New Black has been a hit and while Netflix still isn’t releasing viewing numbers, it says the show will end the year “as our most watched original series ever.” Netflix tops 40 million customers total, more paid US subscribers than HBO   Report: Apple overtakes Samsung to become top smartphone seller in the US in September – Apple’s iPhone 5s has taken the company to the...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Monday 21 October, 2013
Oct21

Top tech stories of the day – Monday 21 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Obama defends Healthcare.gov despite massive tech problems: ‘there’s no sugarcoating it’ – President Barack Obama gave a speech today to combat opponents’ criticisms and soothe supporters’ fears over the extensive problems with the online marketplace where Americans are supposed to buy health insurance. Healthcare.gov has had nearly 20 million visits since it launched on October 1st, according to the administration, but bugs and glitches have prevented many from being able to actually buy insurance. “There is no sugarcoating it,” Obama said during his speech. “The website has been too slow. People have been getting stuck during the application process. I think it’s fair to say nobody is more frustrated by that than I am.” Obama defends Healthcare.gov despite massive tech problems: ‘there’s no sugarcoating it’   BlackBerry says BBM for Android and iOS is coming today, but there’s a wait list – BlackBerry has announced that BlackBerry Messenger will be released today for Android and iOS. The company originally planned to release its messaging app late last month, but those plans were abruptly pushed back when an early version of the Android app publicly leaked ahead of schedule. The company says that “about 1 million” Android users were using the unreleased version of BBM for Android, and BlackBerry is also claiming that more than 1 million iOS users managed to “side load” the app onto iPhone. “In the next few hours, people will start seeing BBM in Google Play, the App Store and in select Samsung App Stores,” the company says. BlackBerry says BBM for Android and iOS is coming today, but there’s a wait list   HTC: our tablet will be ‘disruptive,’ wearables are a ‘critical’ market – HTC leaders Peter Chou and Cher Wang believe wearables are a “critical segment” for the company, but say HTC won’t put out a gimmicky “version one” product. The comments came in a joint interview with the Financial Times. “[A smartwatch] has to meet a need, otherwise if it’s just a gimmick or concept,” says CEO Chou. The CEO, who is handing over some responsibilities to focus on new products, believes current smartwatches fall short as they aren’t useful in “people’s day-to-day lives,” and that represents a big opportunity for HTC to release something better. HTC: our tablet will be ‘disruptive,’ wearables are a ‘critical’ market   Netflix has likely overtaken HBO in paid US subscribers, analysts say –  It’s no secret that Netflix sees itself as a viable challenger to HBO, but the web-based company has so far declined to release viewership data to back up its claims. According to Bloomberg, however, Netflix...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Friday 18 October, 2013
Oct18

Top tech stories of the day – Friday 18 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Apple denies iMessage vulnerability after security firm publishes flaw – Apple is reiterating its stance that iMessages are secure communications, after a security firm published research saying that Apple itself is capable of decrypting and reading them. “iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages,” an Apple spokesperson tells All Things D. Researchers from Quarklabs posited that Apple, should it choose to or if pressed to do so by a government agency, would be capable of decrypting iMessage communications as they moved between a sender and a receiver — a potentially huge distinction from what Apple claimed in June, that “no one but the sender and receiver can see or read [FaceTime calls and iMessages]. Apple cannot decrypt that data.” Apple denies iMessage vulnerability after security firm publishes flaw   Google stock breaks $1,000 for the first time – After a quarterly earnings report that beat Wall Street’s expectations for the first time in three quarters, Google’s stock price hit $1,000 for the first time today. Investors were impressed by the company’s continued growth in its core search advertising business, although advertisers are paying less for individual clicks than they used to. By the end of the year Google is expected to own 33 percent of the global online advertising business, up from 31 percent last year, Bloomberg reported. With today’s 13 percent stock surge, Google is now the world’s third-most valuable company, after Apple and ExxonMobil. Google stock breaks $1,000 for the first time   Pebble’s Migicovsky: we’re focused on software, not hardware right now – “We future-proofed Pebble quite a bit,” says Eric Migicovsky. “We put a lot of tech into Pebble because we knew that the watch we shipped to Kickstarter backers [was] what people were going to judge us on.” The hardware startup’s CEO is in New York for a few days, hitting the Big Apple after a recent appearance at an MIT hackathon, a chance to interact directly with the developer community his company holds so dear. After a tremendously successful crowdfunding campaign and subsequent product launch, Migicovsky’s focus has shifted from hardware to user experience — a job that means fixing bugs and helping to bring the next killer app to the wearable platform. Pebble’s Migicovsky: we’re focused on software, not hardware right now (video)   Why the government unpublished the source code for Healthcare.gov  – When the government first launched Healthcare.gov as an informational site back in June, open source advocates were delighted to hear that the code would be available for anyone to see on the public programming library GitHub. “This new...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 17 October, 2013
Oct17

Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 17 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Windows 8.1 now available to download –  Windows 8 users will see a notification in the Windows Store with a prompt to upgrade to the new operating system. Microsoft has added a number of improvements with this update, including built-in Bing search, smart SkyDrive syncing, and visual changes to the Start Screen and application snapping. For a full overview of all the features see our Windows 8.1 review. Windows 8.1 now available to download     Nokia is trying to patent its own smartwatch with multiple displays – Nokia appears to be experimenting with its own smartwatch concepts. In a patent application submitted in August last year, the company details a “multi-segment wearable accessory.” According to the description, and some related diagrams, it’s a plan for a modular watch than can be worn on the wrist. Images show a concept where each segment of the watch would have its own display to show content, allowing the user to turn his or her wrist to access different parts. Nokia is trying to patent its own smartwatch with multiple displays   Twitter may launch a standalone messaging app, says All Things D – Twitter is revamping its private messaging feature and could release a standalone app for messages, according to a new report. All Things D, citing anonymous sources, says the overhaul of messages is coming in “the near future.” It comes at a time when messaging apps have exploded globally, with companies like WhatsApp, Line, and Kik attracting users by the hundreds of millions. And it would mark another direct point of competition with Facebook, which has a popular standalone messaging app of its own. Twitter may launch a standalone messaging app, says All Things D     A stable version of Ubuntu’s mobile OS is available now… if you own a Nexus 4 – After a long period of developer (and enthusiast) previews, Ubuntu 13.10 for smartphones, as well as desktops, is finally available as a stable release. The gesture-heavy, Linux-based mobile OS still doesn’t have an official hardware home — if you’ll remember, Canoncial’s Indiegogo bid for the Ubuntu Edge failed to meet its lofty goals — but there are a couple of devices that can run the OS. Google’s Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 are both officially supported, so owners of those handsets with the right know-how can head to the company’s site now for instructions to flash the OS. That doesn’t mean we won’t someday see a dedicated Ubuntu device — the company’s still in talks with OEMs. For now, though, you can at least enjoy the fruits of...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 16 October, 2013
Oct16

Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 16 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Square Cash lets you send money over email, now open to US residents – That Square Cash service that was unveiled as invite-only about five months ago? Well, it’s officially open to the public. As of now, anyone can send cold hard cash to anyone else just with a regular ol’ email address — well, an address in the US, anyway. To send money, simply send an email to the recipient with “cash@square.com” in the CC field and the dollar amount in the subject line. If you and your recipient are new to the service, you’ll both get an email from Square with a link to a secure website where you can enter in your debit card number. After that, those funds will be transferred in one to two business days. Once your debit card account is set up, any subsequent cash transaction will go through automatically. The service is absolutely free to send and receive, though you’re limited to sending only $2,500 a week. Square Cash lets you send money over email, now open to US residents    Small camera, big dreams: Sony’s full-frame Alpha 7 and 7R are here to kill your DSLR – Big sensor, small camera. It’s been the goal of nearly every camera manufacturer on the planet, but the closest we’ve gotten are fixed-lens cameras like the Sony RX-1 and entirely new inventions like the Micro Four Thirds sensor. Today, Sony’s announcing what might be the closest thing we’ve seen yet to the perfect mix: the much-leaked Alpha 7 and 7R. They’re closer in size and design to Sony’s NEX cameras, yet come with huge full-frame sensors and a suite of high-end interchangeable lenses. They’re pro-level cameras, with pro-level prices: the 7 starts at $1,999.99 with a kit lens, and the 7R will cost at least $2,299.99. But Sony’s new cameras signify a new era, and a genuine accomplishment: high-end cameras don’t have to be huge anymore. Small camera, big dreams: Sony’s full-frame Alpha 7 and 7R are here to kill your DSLR    Adidas announces new smartwatch for runners, available on November 1st for $399 – Adidas’s head of interactive, Paul Gaudio, has just announced a new Adidas smartwatch at GigaOm’s Mobilized conference in San Francisco. Primarily aimed at runners, he said that it’ll have GPS and will not only measure speed and distance but also provide personal training coaching based on your heart rate. This won’t only show up on the screen, but there’ll be audio coaching via Bluetooth headphones as well. We don’t really know too much else about the watch, but we’re...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 15 October, 2013
Oct15

Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 15 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.  Apple hires Burberry CEO to lead retail and online stores – Apple has announced it’s hiring Angela Ahrendts, currently the CEO of Burberry, to lead the Apple retail and online stores’ “strategic direction, expansion, and operation.” The executive position has been created especially for Ahrendts — no one is moving in or out of Apple’s executive team — who will join Apple as a Senior Vice President reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Apple hires Burberry CEO to lead retail and online stores   Twitter is now giving you the option to receive direct messages from any follower – Twitter is rolling out an option to ease the use of direct messages. Traditionally, Twitter has allowed users who follow each other to send direct messages back and forth, or for users to send direct messages to accounts that follow them. A new setting, that appears to have been rolling out over the past week, allows Twitter users to receive direct messages from any follower. “If you check this option, any Twitter user that follows you will be able to send you a DM, regardless of whether you decide to follow them back,” says a note before the option is turned on. Twitter is now giving you the option to receive direct messages from any follower.   Hands-on with the colorful new Nike+ FuelBand SE – Nike has unveiled the new Nike+ FuelBand SE at an event in New York City. The new band looks almost exactly the same as the old version except for a small splash of color. It’s still available in all black, but now there’s Volt (a neon yellow), Total Crimson (red), and Pink Foil. The new colors are tastefully done, lining the inside of the bracelet and only a small stripe near the latch. Other than the color additions, the new FuelBand SE feels exactly the same. There’s still the pleasant slightly rubbery texture and clasp that unlocks to reveal the USB connector. It feels exactly the same weight, too, which is light enough that it doesn’t get in the way. Hands-on with the colorful new Nike+ FuelBand SE   Steve Jobs’ longtime girlfriend reflects on their ‘hot and cold’ relationship in new memoir –  Chrisann Brennan, who for years was the girlfriend of Steve Jobs (and mother to his first child Lisa), is preparing to release a memoir recounting her time spent with the late Apple co-founder. The New York Post has today posted an excerpt of The Bite in the Apple: a Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs, revealing an intimate and at...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Monday 14 October, 2013
Oct14

Top tech stories of the day – Monday 14 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Windows Phone 8 ‘Update 3′ adds top requested features ahead of 1080p devices – Microsoft is making its Windows Phone 8 Update 3 official today. Known previously as General Distribution Release 3, the update has a more friendly name for Windows Phone 8 users as Microsoft looks to expand its feature set and hardware support. As expected, Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (8.0.10512) is primarily designed for upcoming hardware. It will ship with new devices from Nokia that are expected to be unveiled later this month, and it provides support for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon MSM8974 quad-core processor alongside 5- and 6-inch displays at 1080p resolution. Microsoft is adding a third column of Live Tiles to the Windows Phone 8 Start Screen on 1080p displays to take advantage of the larger displays and resolution, allowing up to six small tiles across the width of the screen. Windows Phone 8 ‘Update 3′ adds top requested features ahead of 1080p devices   Netflix said to negotiate with US cable companies for set-top box app – Netflix is in talks with several US cable companies with the aim of making its video streaming app available on set-top boxes, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report says that Netflix’s discussions with US operators, including Comcast and Suddenlink, are at an early stage with no deal expected soon. Last month the UK’s Virgin Media became the first cable operator to offer Netflix to its customers; companies in the US have so far been reluctant to embrace streaming services, seeing the technology as broadly competitive with their traditional content offerings. Netflix said to negotiate with US cable companies for set-top box app    Twitter reportedly planning targeted ad network for apps and websites – Now that Twitter is almost a publicly traded company, it’s under pressure to find meaningful new sources of revenue. That may include advertising outside of users’ social streams, according to a new report from the Financial Times. Its sources claim that Twitter is developing an ad network for apps and websites that would target visitors based on what users tweet and who they follow. It wouldn’t resemble Facebook’s login-based advertising, however, as much of Twitter’s data is public. The network would reportedly launch soon after the firm completes its recent acquisition of MoPub, a mobile ad exchange. Twitter reportedly planning targeted ad network for apps and websites   China’s Alibaba aims to overtake Walmart in 2016 as world’s biggest retail firm – Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba, whose transactions on its e-commerce platforms have topped that of Amazon and eBay combined, is now expecting to overtake Walmart...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Friday 11 October, 2013
Oct11

Top tech stories of the day – Friday 11 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. If you use Google services, you could become an ad next month – Google users, you’re about to become shills. A major update to the company’s Terms of Service agreement today could have some users’ profiles showing up in ads across the web. These “shared endorsements,” as Google is calling them, leverage any reviews, comments, +1s, follows or stars a user may have given to a business or brand by effectively placing that user’s name, photo and any relevant comment in a personalized advertisement. We know what you’re thinking: you want out. Google knows this too, which is why the company is allowing users the ability to opt-out, while also excluding any and all users under the age of 18. And any users that previously opted out of +1s will automatically be exempted. If you use Google services, you could become an ad next month   Instagram no longer lets users disable video autoplay, a small but important step towards ads – Instagram announced earlier this month that it will begin serving in-feed advertising before the end of the year, and the Facebook-owned photo and video app has made a subtle, but important, change after it removed the option to switch off auto-play for videos. The option is taken out by a seemingly minor update to the app that covers “performance updates and other improvements,” but lists no specific changes. Following the update, users who did not allow videos to pre-load in their feed are left only with a choice to always allow pre-play or restrict it to when they are on Wi-Fi connections only — presumably because of the data charges/usage that auto-playing videos can incur. Instagram no longer lets users disable video autoplay, a small but important step towards ads    Samsung buys fingerprint scanning company for $650 million – Between the iPhone 5s and the HTC One Max, it looks as if biometric security will be the next mobile battleground. Not to be outdone, of course, Samsung has just splashed out $650 million on Swedish firm Fingerprint Cards AB. The firm has already crafted a swipe sensor that works on mobile devices like the Galaxy S 4, and has similar technology currently working with Windows 8.1 devices. The company will be turned into a separate division of the Korean behemoth, and Samsung Fingerprint Cards Division will be run by current CEO Johan Carlström. Samsung buys fingerprint scanning company for $650 million   Apple reportedly halving the daily production of the iPhone 5c following weak demand in China – Questions were raised over the relative high price of the iPhone 5c at launch....

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 10 October, 2013
Oct10

Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 10 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Jeff Bezos biography portrays the Amazon CEO as a tempestuous genius –  Bloomberg Businessweek has published extensive excerpts from writer Brad Stone’s upcoming book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. The ten-page article covers a smorgasbord of topics, ranging from the beginnings of Amazon to Bezos’ undiscussed difficult relationship with his biological father. It also details some of the inner workings of Amazon, including Bezos’ leadership group, which is reportedly known as “the S Team.” Jeff Bezos biography portrays the Amazon CEO as a tempestuous genius   Fitbit Force brings smartwatch features to a fitness tracker – Well, Fitbit had a little trouble keeping the wraps on its Force activity tracking watch. But the company is ready to officially unveil its latest wearable and plans to launch it in the coming weeks for $129.95. The Force borrows heavily from the aesthetic successes of the Flex, with its clean rubberized design and small dark display. That display, though, is where it sets itself apart from its more affordable predecessor. The Force is able to deliver detailed tracking information — not just represent your steps as dots — like the time and even (pending a firmware update) caller ID information when paired with an iPhone 4s or newer running iOS 7. Fitbit Force brings smartwatch features to a fitness tracker   BlackBerry may break up as buyout becomes less likely – Things are getting even worse for BlackBerry, with concerns that the buyout offer from Fairfax Financial may fall through and talks with other potential buyers turning stale. If BlackBerry is unable to find a buyer, it may be headed towards a breakup, where various company holdings are sold separately to the highest bidder. BlackBerry may break up as buyout becomes less likely   Hawaii shoots first in ‘Star Wars’-style laser timelapse – This three-minute timelapse video was shot at the summit of Mauna Kea, the 13,803-foot (4.2km) volcano in Haiwaii. Due to its position, the peak is ideal for space observation. It’s currently home to the Manua Kea Observatories, which are used for scientific research across the electromagnetic spectrum, and will soon play host to the world’s largest optical telescope. In addition to aiding in the scientific quest for knowledge — and being a dead ringer for Star Wars‘ Ion Cannons — the observatories also make a fantastic subject for a timelapse. Photographer Sean Goebel spent seven days and nights over several months capturing the observatories against the spectacular constellations of the Milky Way. Hawaii shoots first in ‘Star Wars’-style laser timelapse   Chinese students allegedly forced to build...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 9 October, 2013
Oct09

Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 9 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Facebook, Steve Ballmer, and Al Gore all tried to buy Twitter – Nick Bilton’s upcoming book on the history of Twitter has dug up a number of secrets about the platform, including Mark Zuckerberg’s extensive attempts to buy the microblogging platform in 2009. According to an excerpt published in The New York Times Magazine, Steve Ballmer, Mark Zuckerberg and Al Gore all approached former CEO Ev Williams about a possible deal, although Zuckerberg went a step further, attempting to hire co-founder Jack Dorsey after he left the company. The excerpt also reveals a bitter struggle over control of the company and credit as “founder” of the platform. Bilton sheds light on Noah Glass, a co-founder who made crucial early contributions to the platform before being surreptitiously pushed out by Jack Dorsey. Facebook, Steve Ballmer, and Al Gore all tried to buy Twitter   Disney’s latest research could let you feel a jellyfish on your iPad (video) – Disney Research, responsible for futuristic feedback systems like an earlobe speaker and a touch sensor that can work on water, is working on a new way to let people feel what’s on their screens. The group will soon release a paper describing how to turn geometric figures on a touchscreen into simulated textures that users can run their hands across. In a demo video, researchers describe using it to feel the ridges on a map or examine objects that are behind glass. If the examples are any indication, you can do anything from “touch” an apple on a tablet to feel a jellyfish float across your screen. Disney’s latest research could let you feel a jellyfish on your iPad (video)   Comcast and Twitter ‘See It’ partnership lets cable viewers watch and record shows instantly –  With partnerships between Twitter and TV networks expanding rapidly, it was only a matter of time before a major cable provider got involved. Comcast has today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with NBCUniversal (which it now fully owns) and Twitter, a collaboration that potentially carries big benefits for everyone involved. First, Comcast has designed a new feature called “See It” that you’ll see embedded in NBCUniversal tweets beginning in November. By clicking the See It button, Xfinity customers can immediately tune into live programming either on their set-top box or right from the smartphone or tablet they’re using. Comcast and Twitter ‘See It’ partnership lets cable viewers watch and record shows instantly   Real-life Iron Man suit commissioned by US military – The technology in Iron Man is getting a step closer to reality thanks to the United States military. The Army...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 8 October, 2013
Oct08

Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 8 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Fire drill: can Tony Fadell and Nest build a better smoke detector? – This is the Nest Protect, a $129 smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Instead of simply beeping, it tells you exactly what and where the problem is, and you shut it up just by waving at it. It will last for years on six AA batteries, and ping your smartphone when they need to be replaced. And it serves as an activity sensor for the Nest Learning Thermostat, letting it more accurately adjust your heating and cooling as it learns when you’re home and away. It is ridiculously expensive — Amazon’s best-selling smoke detector costs $31 — and oddly beautiful. Particularly the black one, which dramatically sets off the multicolor LED ring around the button and lends a touch of ‘80s flair to Nest’s logo. Fire drill: can Tony Fadell and Nest build a better smoke detector?   Samsung import ban reportedly in effect after President Obama declines to veto ITC order – In August the International Trade Commission issued a ruling that banned the import of some older Samsung smartphones and tablets for violating Apple’s patent portfolio. The White House had 60 days during which it could have stepped in and veto the decision, according to multiple reports President Obama declined to do so — and the ban is now in effect. The ITC ruling doesn’t specify precisely which devices will be covered, but it has been established that older devices like the Galaxy S 4G, Fascinate, and Galaxy Tab do infringe. At issue are two Apple patents that cover scrolling behavior and a device’s ability to detect when headphones are plugged in. Samsung import ban reportedly in effect after President Obama declines to veto ITC order   HTC One Max with fingerprint scanner coming October 15th, says WSJ – Corroborating recent reports, The Wall Street Journal says that the 5.9-inch HTC One Max will be revealed on October 15th and will include the fingerprint scanner seen in leaked photos. The One Max has been rumored since July, and images so far show a giant phone that maintains the look of the 4.7-inch HTC One shown above, but an initial announce date of September has slipped into October. Now, though, both Phone Arena and two sources from the Journal have confirmed an October 15th date. HTC One Max with fingerprint scanner coming October 15th, says WSJ   PayPal’s Payment Code lets you purchase with QR codes – Still trying to get the hang of NFC purchasing and the many, many other forms of digital payment? PayPal has now launched another...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Monday 7 October, 2013
Oct07

Top tech stories of the day – Monday 7 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Twitter rolls out Nielsen rating to track TV tweets – The metric was first announced in 2012, and was developed in partnership with TV ratings tracker Nielsen. It will show both the number of tweets mentioning specific shows, and the number of accounts those tweets reach. That second statistic is of particular importance to Nielsen, Twitter, and advertisers. The New York Times calls actual tweets about a show “the tip of the iceberg,” and quotes Andrew Somosi — chief executive of SocialGuide, acquired by Nielsen in late 2012 — saying “the full iceberg is the extent to which people are seeing those tweets.” The New York Times uses the example of Breaking Bad‘s finale. The show was mentioned in 1.2 million tweets but those tweets reached 9.3 million Twitter accounts. Twitter rolls out Nielsen rating to track TV tweets     LG confirms production of ‘bendable and unbreakable’ smartphone displays  – The company has confirmed that it will begin mass-producing a new lightweight 6-inch panel that, it claims, is the world’s first flexible OLED panel for smartphones. The display is built from plastic substrates that give it bendable properties, allowing it to fixed inside devices with curved (but likely rigid) designs. Reports suggest LG could include its first flexible screen inside the G Flex, a new 6-inch smartphone set to be announced next month, but the company points to new products with “enhanced performance and differentiated designs” coming next year. Something tells us LG may move quickly to announce its first such product, with Samsung strongly tipped to unveil its own exotically-shaped smartphone next month. LG confirms production of ‘bendable and unbreakable’ smartphone displays     Google, payment providers take action against firms profiting from mug shots – As if getting arrested isn’t problematic enough, it turns out that the advent of the internet age has made it considerably worse. A cottage industry of companies scraping and reposting local police departments’ websites for mug shots has popped up over the past several years, keeping the specter of a past run-in with the law no further than a Google search away unless a fee — which can run in the hundreds of dollars — is paid to have the shot taken down. For serious crimes, permanently spreading a mug shot far and wide isn’t necessarily a bad thing; for minor offenses, it can make the difference between landing and losing a job. Google, payment providers take action against firms profiting from mug shots     Russia planning ‘PRISM on steroids’ for Winter Olympics – In February, visitors from around the world will gather in...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Friday 4 October, 2013
Oct04

Top tech stories of the day – Friday 4 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.    Future of Glass? Philips and Accenture show potential of Google’s specs in healthcare (Video) – Tech company Philips and Accenture Technology Labs have teamed up to demonstrate its own ideas about how Glass could be used in a medical setting, posting a YouTube video on Thursday detailing its proof-of-concept project. Google Glass is yet to get a commercial release but already plenty of beta testers, otherwise known as Explorers, are putting the high-tech device through its paces. As you might expect, the business world is taking an interest in Glass too, with the medical field in particular cited by many as an industry that could benefit from the device in a myriad of ways. The video (below) demonstrates how Glass might be utilized in the case of someone arriving at hospital with a serious ailment. First, the doctor is shown using the wearable tech to access information on the patient’s status prior to meeting him. Future of Glass? Philips and Accenture show potential of Google’s specs in healthcare   Boston Dynamics frees its four-legged sprinting robot: Cheetah becomes WildCat (video) – The last time we saw the sprinting “Cheetah” robot, our fear for the future of humanity was soothed slightly by the knowledge that it remained tethered to the offboard hydraulic pumps it relied on for power. Now, Boston Dynamics is taking the chains off of its world record holder and letting the next generation of sprinter run, called WildCat. As shown in the video after the break, it’s already capable of bounding and galloping across flat terrain at speeds of up to 16mph. We don’t know what kind of power WildCat is running on, but unless its energy drains faster than a Sega Game Gear on Christmas Day, 1991, things are looking bleak. Boston Dynamics frees its four-legged sprinting robot: Cheetah becomes WildCat (video)   GTA Online fixes for PS3 and Xbox 360 rolling out today – Rockstar Games has provided an update on the fixes it’s putting in place for its Grand Theft Auto Online server issues. The multiplayer mode launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 earlier this week to slow load times and the inability to access Grand Theft Auto Online at all for some. “For PlayStation 3 users, a PlayStation Network server issue was detected that was limiting the amount of possible concurrent users,” says a Rockstar Games spokesperson. This was preventing players from accessing the online mode and has now been resolved. Although an update is live for PlayStation 3 users, the company is also planning to release a similar patch for Xbox 360 players...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 3 October, 2013
Oct03

Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 3 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Snowden’s email provider Lavabit fought government surveillance with ultra-tiny font – Earlier this summer, a few weeks after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaked documents on the agency’s surveillance practices were published, the encrypted email service provider he used, called Lavabit, shut itself down. At that time, Lavabit’s founder Ladar Levison said he was shuttering his website to avoid “becom[ing] complicit in crimes against the American people,” which many took to mean he was resisting further surveillance demands by the US government. It turns out we didn’t know the half of it: new court documents unsealed today in the US District Court for Virginia’s Eastern District, obtained by Wired, reveal that Levison fought the US government tooth-and-nail to avoid handing over the encryption keys that would allow government agents to read his customers’ emails. Snowden’s email provider Lavabit fought government surveillance with ultra-tiny font   Rockstar responds to GTA Online issues, is working ‘around the clock’ to fix things – Unfortunately, as many predicted, the rollout of Grand Theft Auto Online on Tuesday did not go smoothly for many gamers. On launch day many were unable to connect, or connected but couldn’t complete the tutorial, or got into the game and ended up losing created characters. Rockstar Games has posted a list of issues players have reported and says the team is working “around the clock” (presumably the members of the team that aren’t busy counting that billion dollar haul) on fixes. Rockstar responds to GTA Online issues, is working ‘around the clock’ to fix things   Silk Road owner charged again, this time for hiring a hitman in Maryland – Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of running the underground drug marketplace Silk Road, has been charged with drug trafficking and hiring a hitman to knock off one of his employees. Of course, the hitman was actually an undercover federal agent in Maryland, and no one was actually killed. Silk Road had a handful of employees, according to court documents, and apparently one of them went astray. This employee, who is not named in the indictment, stole money from users and also managed to get picked up by the police. “I’d like him beat up, then forced to send the bitcoins he stole back,” Ulbricht allegedly said. Silk Road owner charged again, this time for hiring a hitman in Maryland   Microsoft explains how it built a better Kinect, boosted accuracy without sacrificing performance (video) – The Xbox One’s improved Kinect device is looking like an enormous leap ahead of its predecessor, but getting it there wasn’t easy. Designing it took a...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 2 October, 2013
Oct02

Top tech stories of the day – Wednesday 2 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Bill Gates should step down, say three top Microsoft shareholders – In Steve Ballmer’s tearful farewell to Microsoft, he assured employees that they would build amazing things without him at the helm. “We will deliver the next big thing… we will change the world again.” Some shareholders, however, believe that the company can’t make necessary changes simply by replacing a CEO. Today, Reuters is reporting that three of the top 20 Microsoft investors are also calling for Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to step down. Bill Gates should step down, say three top Microsoft shareholders   Tesla Model S caught on fire outside Seattle (video) – Immediate thoughts that the fire was initiated by a problem with the battery appear to have caused the stock price to drop. Those thoughts have been tempered somewhat by the fact that neither the battery nor any major electrical systems are in the front of the car. Tesla Model S caught on fire outside Seattle (video)   Apple acknowledges iMessage delivery issues on iOS 7, is working on a fix – A number of iOS users have reported problems sending and receiving using iMessage (not that it’s the first time), and tonight Apple has responded. The Wall Street Journal has a statement from the company claiming the issue affects “a fraction of a percent” of its iMessage users, and says it will be fixed in a future software update. TechCrunch points out a support document that may provide temporary relief to those experiencing the issue, otherwise users may need to fall back to one of the many, many, many other messaging services out there (but not BBM, yet, and Google Hangouts had its own issue recently) to make sure those messages are getting through. Apple acknowledges iMessage delivery issues on iOS 7, is working on a fix   Silk road has been seized – Light just reached one of the darker corners of the web: the FBI has seized Silk Road, a site infamous for hosting anonymized, Bitcoin-based drug and gun sales.  The move follows a sting operation that also led to the arrest of site founder Ross Ulbricht (aka Dread Pirate Roberts) for alleged hacking, money laundering and narcotics trafficking.   Facebook’s check-in based free Wi-Fi rolling out nationally with Cisco’s help –  Last year, Facebook began trialing a novel approach to Wi-Fi: it gave consumers free access to high-speed internet in exchange for checking in at a business. Starting today, it’s expanding that initiative even further with the help of Cisco. The two companies are collaborating on what’s being called CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi. That branding is a...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 1 October, 2013
Oct01

Top tech stories of the day – Tuesday 1 October, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. BitTorrent teases decentralized chat client in the wake of security breaches – Today, BitTorrent announced it’s building a private instant messaging client for our post-PRISM world. The firm told CNET that BitTorrent Chat should function like the company’s other peer-to-peer services, using a form of torrenting’s decentralized technology-approach that’s been adapted for real-time communications. And while compatibility with other IM protocols is expected in the future, for now it’s exclusive to BitTorrent account holders. You can even apply for an invite into the pre-alpha at the BitTorrent Labs site — if you’re so inclined, that is. BitTorrent teases decentralized chat client in the wake of security breaches     Grand Theft Auto Online launches with early server issues – Grand Theft Auto V debuted last month to recording-breaking success, but the highly anticipated multiplayer option is only launching today. Grand Theft Auto Online is free for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 users, and an update is rolling out to both consoles today to provide access to the new multiplayer world. However, early reports suggest there’s some expected server issues. A number of players are complaining of slow load times and the inability to access Grand Theft Auto Online at all. The makers of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar Games, anticipated these issues in a warning to gamers last week. Grand Theft Auto Online launches with early server issues     Samsung again caught rigging benchmark scores on Galaxy Note 3 – Not long after the release of the Galaxy S4 earlier this year, Samsung found itself accused of artificially (and secretly) boosting benchmark scores on its flagship phone to ensure it would outperform the competition. Samsung outright denied that it had intentionally done so, but now the scenario is repeating itself with the release of the Galaxy Note 3. Ars Technica noticed the odd behavior while reviewing the device, and the details closely mirror those of the original controversy. Samsung again caught rigging benchmark scores on Galaxy Note 3     Dell merger clears final regulatory hurdles, will go private next year – Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners’ joint bid to take Dell private has just cleared its final obstacle: regulatory approval. That means the deal is now all, but completed. The transaction, valued at $25 billion, will see Dell transitioning to a private entity by the company’s fiscal Q3 next year. Dell merger clears final regulatory hurdles, will go private next year     J.J. Abrams apologizes for overusing lens flare: ‘I know it’s too much’ – JJ Abrams isn’t sorry for the last two Star Trek films, Super 8,...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Friday 27 September, 2013
Sep27

Top tech stories of the day – Friday 27 September, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.  Ford CEO Alan Mulally has vaulted to the forefront of the candidates to become the new CEO of Microsoft. – People with knowledge of the situation said that while the 68-year-old Mulally – who has been CEO of Ford for seven years and is a well-known business star — was not seeking the job at first, he has become more amenable to the idea in recent weeks. Ford CEO Alan Mulally has vaulted to the forefront of the candidates to become the new CEO of Microsoft.     Valve unveils the Steam Box controller – Today Valve revealed details for its very own gamepad — the Steam Controller, designed to work with the company’s Steam Box console. The device features two circular, clickable trackpads. “Driven by the player’s thumbs, each one has a high-resolution trackpad as its base,” explains Valve. The company says that the new controller allows for higher fidelity than traditional gamepads, which makes it a better alternative to a mouse and keyboard for controlling PC-centric genres like strategy games and first-person shooters.  Valve unveils the Steam Box controller     Attackers can slip malicious code into many Android apps via open Wi-Fi – A vulnerability affecting older versions of Google’s Android operating system may make it possible for attackers to execute malicious code on end-user smartphones that use a wide variety of apps, researchers said. The weakness resides in a widely used programming interface known as WebView, which allows developers to embed Web-based content into apps used for banking, entertainment, and other purposes. Many apps available on the official Google Play market don’t properly secure the connection between the WebView component on a phone and the Web content being downloaded, researchers from UK-based MWR Labs recently warned. Attackers can slip malicious code into many Android apps via open Wi-Fi     FAA panel formally recommends loosening in-flight electronics restrictions –Earlier this week, anonymous sources told The New York Times that a special United States Federal Aviation Administration panel would recommend to the agency that it loosen its restrictions on passengers using electronic devices during take-off and landing. Now, according to the AP, that panel officially recommended to the FAA that it let airline passengers use their smartphones, e-readers, tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices essentially uninterrupted during flight. FAA panel formally recommends loosening in-flight electronics restrictions   Ballmer bids tearful farewell to Microsoft, promises it will ‘deliver the next big thing’ –  Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer bid farewell to employees today at his final company meeting as CEO. After announcing his intentions to retire within the next 12 months, Ballmer’s speech today...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 26 September, 2013
Sep26

Top tech stories of the day – Thursday 26 September, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. eBay, PayPal’s parent company, announced that it was acquiring Braintree for $800 million in cash. Braintree built a platform that powered payments on the web and mobile devices. It had a lot of success getting business from popular mobile apps and was processing more than $10 billion a year for companies like Uber, Fab, and Airbnb. Discussing the deal, eBay president John Donahoe said that Braintree was a perfect fit for the work PayPal is already doing, but the two companies weren’t always so cordial with one another. PayPal spends $800M to acquire the startup that accused it of screwing customers     China’s government won’t be loosening internet censorship after all. Rumors of relaxed internet censorship in China appear to be unfounded. Earlier this week, the South China Morning Post reported that the “Great Firewall,” which blocks access to popular web destinations like Facebook and Twitter in mainland China, would be lifted inside the special Shanghai free trade zone. The measure was described as a way to make travelers feel more at home, which would in turn (ideally) stimulate overseas investment and trade. But apparently China’s regime doesn’t want visitors reading The New York Times after all — even in the free trade zone. China’s government won’t be loosening internet censorship after all   Apple lockscreen bug fix. Apple confirmed and assured everyone that it was working on a fix to the iOS 7 lockscreen bypass bug last week that let sneaky individuals mess with users’ email and social network accounts. And now, exactly seven days later, said update is hitting handsets in the form of iOS 7.0.2. Apple addresses lockscreen bypass bug with iOS 7.0.2 rollout     Scientists create ‘light saber’ material with photon-binding technique – Photons are usually thought of as massless particles, but a recent discovery by Harvard and MIT professors forces physicists to rethink that assumption. By pumping atoms into a supercooled vacuum chamber, the project created a non-linear quantum medium in which photons will actually bind to each other, creating a new form of photon-based matter that, as it happens, looks an awful lot like the business end of a light saber. Scientists create ‘light saber’ material with photon-binding technique     Bill Gates sympathizes with your Windows login woes, admits three-button start ‘was a mistake.’  While most of the world associates the classic control-alt-delete keyboard command with soft reboots and frozen applications, a small portion of the population battles with the bizarre concept of the command as a login as well. Windows NT users, specifically, recall using the command as a means to turn on their desktops —...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Wed 25 September, 2013
Sep25

Top tech stories of the day – Wed 25 September, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.  Two new Kindle HDX tablets – Amazon has announced two new top-of-the-line Kindle Fire tablets. Dubbed “HDX,” they come in two screen sizes: 7-inches or 8.9-inches. They also feature an innovative new tech-support feature called “Mayday,” which lets you have a live video chat with an Amazon representative any time of the day or night. The Kindle Fire HD, meanwhile, got a small bump in specs and a huge slash in price. Both of the new Kindle HDX tablets can be pre-ordered from Amazon immediately. See a video of the new ‘Mayday’ feature in action in here.     Twitter announces Twitter Alerts for SMS and push notifications during emergencies – Twitter Building on previous disaster response efforts, Twitter is rolling out a feature that will let agencies broadcast messages in a crisis. The program, called simply Twitter Alerts, lets users sign up for emergency messages from agencies like FEMA, the World Health Organization, and local police departments. Once you opt into an individual organization’s alerts, it can send you push notifications and text messages in case of an emergency, like a less formal version of the severe weather warnings the National Weather Service sends straight to smartphones. Twitter turns its social messaging platform into an emergency alert system     Valve is building its own gaming console – Steam Machines. Valve is building a game console, but not just one. The company wants to create an entirely new class of computers that brings the power of Linux and the distribution might of Steam to the living room. That’s why on Monday, it announced SteamOS. And today, that’s why the company is announcing its hardware plans — barely. “Beginning in 2014, there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers,” the company writes. Unfortunately, Valve doesn’t say which manufacturers it’s working with, or what the Steam Box will look like. Valve unveils Steam Machines, a hardware beta for its living room game console     Samsung released a Gold Galaxy S4 and they’ve announced that they will soon be releasing a phone with a curved screen. Two weeks after Apple’s September 10th reveal of a champagne-colored iPhone, Samsung is launching its own golden phone in the shape of a new Gold Edition Galaxy S4. There are two options, Gold Pink or Gold Brown, which Samsung is proudly showing off on its United Arab Emirates social media outlets. It’s doubtful that these handsets will make it to a global distribution. New phone with a curved screen – The unnamed device could appear in Korea next month, according to Reuters, although...

Read More
Top tech stories of the day – Tue 24 September, 2013
Sep24

Top tech stories of the day – Tue 24 September, 2013

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. China unblocks social media sites for people inside the free trade zone in shanghai – China is said to be unblocking sites like Facebook, Twitter and the NYT, but only in a small part of Shanghai. The South China Morning Post reports the state has decided to unblock several foreign internet sites “considered politically sensitive,” but only in the free-trade zone of Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. According to “government sources,” the move to open access to sites including Facebook, Twitter (both of which were cut off in 2009) and The New York Times (blocked last year) is so visitors can “live and work happily in the free-trade zone.” http://dailytechwhip.com/china-said-to-be-unblocking-sites-like-facebook-twitter-and-the-nyt-but-only-in-a-small-part-of-shanghai/   California creates law enabling teens to erase their embarrassing online past.  The Golden State is giving kids with less than perfect online judgment a clean slate. California Senate Bill 568 will require various online services offering access to minors the chance to remove all of the information they’ve posted. There’s a hard deadline of 2015 for the option to kick in, but this isn’t a catch-all: It only applies to content the user posts about themselves, not what a friend might tag them in. http://dailytechwhip.com/california-lets-kids-erase-bieber-fever-phase-from-online-past/     Apple has refreshed its iMac series with a new generation of processors, the company announced today. The iMacs were visually redesigned in late 2012, but this update is focused on performance. The new models will include Intel’s more powerful fourth-generation Haswell processor, along with updated graphics — integrated Iris Pro for the base 21.5-inch model and an Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphic card for the 27-inch one, with upgrades available for both. http://dailytechwhip.com/apple-refreshes-imac-with-haswell-processor-faster-storage/   Android users can now remotely lock down a misplaced or stolen device from the web. Google has rolled this critical feature into Android Device Manager, which launched last month with location tracking and remote wipe functionality. Now the web tool lets you lock any Android smartphone running version 2.2 of the operating system and above. http://dailytechwhip.com/google-adds-remote-lock-and-password-reset-features-to-android-device-manager/     BlackBerry have removed the new messenger app from the ITunes and Google Play stores. Andrew Bocking of BlackBerry explained that the leaked app was the problem. It’s an older version that overloaded company servers with “volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user.” BlackBerry is now working to block users of the leaked app before releasing the proper Android and iOS software. As was the case on Saturday, no clear timetable is being offered as to when the cross-platform messaging app will be formally released. BB has had a rough week, the company was sold just hours...

Read More