Steve Ballmer’s biggest Microsoft blunder: He was just too slow – Apple released the first iPhone in 2007. Microsoft’s Windows Phone didn’t appear until 2010.
That alone should tell you all you need to know about Microsoft’s biggest issue over the last decade: Despite record revenues, the company’s been far too slow to respond to the rise of new product categories. And Steve Ballmer is taking some responsibility for that: He was too slow.
“No matter how fast I want to change, there will be some hesitation from all constituents—employees, directors, investors, partners, vendors, customers, you name it—to believe I’m serious about it, maybe even myself,” the outgoing CEO told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview.
Bitcoin-powered assassination market targets Obama, Bernanke, and others – Bitcoin has long been accused of aiding money-laundering, but today it’s been implicated in a more grisly business: assassination. In Forbes, Andy Greenberg details a site called Assassination Market, which offers up crowdfunded bounties for the murder of public figures. As previously reported in The Daily Dot, the site is primarily motivated by hostility to overreaching government, offering bounties ranging from 40 bitcoin for President Obama to a whopping 124 bitcoin for outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke. At current bitcoin rates, that would add up to over $70,000.
Google code reveals work on burst mode and face detection for Android cameras – Google appears to be working on a series of improvements for cameras on Android, including burst mode, face detection, and the ability to work with RAW photos. The possible new camera features were spotted in the public Android source code by Josh Brown and Ars Technica, and they appear to have been in the works since December 2012. The updates would be part of a camera API that any manufacturer could tap into, allowing all Android phones to take advantage of these additions.
While Google may have been aiming to ship these changes in KitKat, it appears that they weren’t ready in time. In October, the updated camera API was removed from the upcoming release code with the note, “Not yet ready.”
NSA phone-tracking case blocked by Supreme Court – This morning, the Supreme Court declined to hear an NSA-challenging case brought forward by privacy group EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center). The case would have been the first major NSA case to have been brought before the Supreme Court, targeting the FISA court order for all of Verizon’s phone records that was revealed this June. EPIC maintained that the court overstepped its statutory authority with the order, since the records specifically included calls made “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”
Report: Apple buys PrimeSense, co-creators of the original Kinect – Remember that Apple / PrimeSense deal that was rumored to be going down in July? It may have just gone through: according to Israeli news source Calcalist, Cupertino acquired the motion sensing technology firm for $345 million this weekend.
Robotic deer continue snaring illegal poachers – For many years, robotic wildlife has been used as a honeytrap, catching poachers for violating hunting rules. In the latest case, a man was arrested after shooting a mechanical deer from a Florida road. He faces a $2,500 fine and a year in prison for dual infractions: hunting out of season and discharging a firearm from the roadway.
As Vice reports, using mechanical animals in this way has been an extremely successful tactic for law enforcement. The animals can be remotely controlled to move their tail, ears, or head, adding to the realism, and can take as many as 1,000 shots before requiring replacement. In a Vice video, Custom Robotic Wildlife, a company that produces such decoys, explains how and why they’re so effective.
Bitcoin mining motherboards promise huge profits (for your energy provider) – As Bitcoins have become more valuable, they’ve also become much harder to accumulate using the mathematical process known as “mining.” This air of futility hasn’t fazed ASRock, however, as the company has revealed two new motherboards that promise to help DIY-ers to “join the gold rush now!” The H61 Pro BTC and H81 Pro BTC are both Intel socket boards, with the latter being Haswell compatible, and their main party trick is to carry extra PCIe slots and power connectors so you can exploit the compute power of up to six graphics cards simultaneously.
Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch available December 2nd for $350 – Where mobile devices are concerned, Qualcomm’s normally a behind-the-scenes player, but that’s all set to change next month. The company has announced that itsToq smartwatch is coming to the market on December 2nd.
Big Q had said that it would knock out a limited run of the hardware back in September, but unlike othernext-gen wearables, this one wouldn’t be limited to a select few. Packing a Mirasol display, wireless charging and stereo Bluetooth audio, the Toq will set you back $350 – assuming that you haven’t already spent that amount of cash on its most immediate rival.
Sony sells over 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in just 24 hours – Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 4 console is off to a good start. The company announced today that it has sold over 1 million consoles in just 24 hours. Sony’s PlayStation 4 only launched on Friday in the US and Canada, so it’s an impressive start for just two regions. “We are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal,” says Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. “Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29.”
The PlayStation 4 is now Sony’s fastest-selling console, with North American sales surpassing the initial demand for the PlayStation 2 in Japan. European sales of the PS4 start in just under two weeks, so it’s entirely possible that Sony’s next-gen console could overtake Nintendo’s struggling Wii U sales (currently 3.91 million) by the end of the year.
Police turn to nose telescope to sniff out marijuana – Every cop can’t be assigned a drug-sniffing police canine, and our noses aren’t nearly as advanced at sniffing out nefarious odors as our adorable-but-hardworking companions’ noses. A new gadget, straight out of Futurama, can amplify a human’s sense of smell, and target specific odors to, for example, detect illicit substances.
The gadget is called the Nasal Ranger, seemingly — impossibly — without any kind of comedic intent.
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