Top tech stories of the day for Thursday 21 November 2013

Snapchat’s CEO says his former friend ‘may deserve something’ for helping create the app – As Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel apparently holds out against generous acquisition offers, he and co-founder Bobby Murphy are also in a legal battle against a former friend who says he was shut out after coming up with the idea for the app.

Reggie Brown attended Stanford University alongside Murphy and Spiegel, and he produced several documents showing that he had been involved in creating the original version of Snapchat — including a patent filing with his name on it. Murphy and Spiegel, however, say that he played little role in actually developing the app, even if he was present while they were building it.

Snapchat’s CEO says his former friend ‘may deserve something’ for helping create the app

 

LG promises to stop your Smart TV spying on you – In light of accusations that its Smart TVs were sending private data to its servers, LG has admitted that some of its sets are behaving in ways they shouldn’t be. In a statement, the Korean manufacturer conceded that it has been collecting channel, TV platform and broadcast source data from some units, even when the feature was switched off.

However, the company said that when the feature operates normally, it helps provide viewing recommendations to other LG Smart TV owners based on what they are watching. In response to claims it was also beaming over names of files located on connected USB keys, LG admits that it actually forms part of a service that searches the internet for detailed information on a particular film or TV show — although that has yet to launch.

LG promises to stop your Smart TV spying on you

 

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Sony’s SmartWig patent is a real head-scratcher – Most large tech companies are either making wearable devices, or at least showing an interest in them. Sony’s got a smartwatch, sure, but it’s bored of such “in-the-box” thinking. Either that, or someone at Sony’s been hitting the pipe, as the company’s trying to patent what it calls a “SmartWig” (yeah, seriously). The application describes a standard wig that could “be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair or any kind of synthetic material,” with a circuit board hidden among those luscious locks.

That board can talk to a “second computing device” wirelessly — such as a phone or even a pair of smartglasses — and actuators embedded in the hairpiece could “provide tactile feedback to the user.” In other words, the wig could vibrate when you receive emails and the like.

Sony’s SmartWig patent is a real head-scratcher

 

Amazon Black Friday 2013 deals – In the frantic leadup to Black Friday, every retailer is looking for a way to differentiate its sale from the competition. Amazon’s trick is to go all out with daily deals. Starting Sunday November 24th, the retail giant will begin offering deals with deep discounts. They’ll come thick and fast — as often as every ten minutes — but will only be valid for a short time while stocks last. The promotion is planned to run all the way through to Black Friday weekend.

Some of the highlights include TVs like a Seiki 32-inch 720p TV for $99, a 50-inch Vizio TV for $229, and a 65-inch 1080p Samsung TV for $999; last-gen consoles and games like a PS3 250GB with The Last of Us and Batman Arkham Origins for $199, an Xbox 360 250GB withHalo 4 and Tomb Raider for $189.99, and titles like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Arkham Origins, FIFA 14, Madden 25, Battlefield 4 all at big discounts. Amazon will also be offering up to 90 percent off apps from its Android app store and countless other deals including an HTC One smartphone for just $0.01 with a two-year contract.

Amazon Black Friday 2013 deals

 

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Is the tide turning? Women filled 60% of tech jobs created this year – Could America finally be making progress towards getting more women into the tech industry?

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests we might be. Of the 39,000 jobs created in tech this year, 60 percent of them were filled by women. Tech career Hub Dice found that this is the first time women have represented a majority of new hires in the past decade.  The tech industry undoubtedly has a gender problem, and the topic of women-in-tech topic has been debated for years. Women make up less than one-third of all employees in the tech sector. Only three percent of tech startups are formed by women and tech companies employ an average of 12.33% female engineers. Women contribute to just 1.2 percent of open source software and 5 percent of patents.

These numbers are dismal, but at last it seems that gains are being made.

Is the tide turning? Women filled 60% of tech jobs created this year

 


Macy’s tests location-specific store discounts using Apple’s iBeacon (video) – The Bluetooth-based iBeacon feature in iOS 7 is theoretically ideal for retailers — they can offer location-sensitive deals without having to track shoppers using GPS.

We’re about to find out how well it works in practice, as Macy’s has just started testing Shopkick’s iBeacon-derived ShopBeacon service in a closed beta. Stores in New York’s Herald Square and San Francisco’s Union Square now carry transmitters that send discounts and recommendations to participating iPhone users when they pass nearby.

Macy’s tests location-specific store discounts using Apple’s iBeacon (video)

 

 

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Kanye West blasts Zappos for ‘shit product,’ Zappos responds with toilet picture – 

In a podcast with Bret Easton Ellis earlier today, Kanye West sounded off on the web retailer Zappos and its CEO Tony Hsieh. West complained that Hsieh had told West to focus on music, rather than his fashion pursuits, “meanwhile, he sells all this shit product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling shit product.” Presumably this is a reference to the poor quality of shoes found on Zappos, in contrast to the haute couture brands favored by West. “My focus is on humanity,” West clarified.

Zappos’ response was to post this, a self-described “shit product,” illustrated by a picture of a toilet in mid-plunge.

Kanye West blasts Zappos for ‘shit product,’ Zappos responds with toilet picture

 

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Google’s Eric Schmidt thinks government censorship will be wiped out within ten years – Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt is highly optimistic — he thinks that government censorship can be ended within a decade, Bloomberg reports.

The key to that? Encryption. Schmidt said in a speech, hosted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, that “the solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything.”

He acknowledges that the NSA and other countries have probably broken some of the encryption standards used today, but “it’s always a cat-and-mouse game” and in the race for stronger protection over Internet traffic, he thinks the censors will lose.

Google’s Eric Schmidt thinks government censorship will be wiped out within ten years

 

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Thanks for reading,
Tom Peters.



Author: Tom Peters

Journalist. Digital enthusiast. Asking questions about media business models and writing for DailyTechWhip.com

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