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October 12, 2015
Apple last week revealed that it had removed from its App Store several apps with root certificates that could allow data monitoring. The monitoring could compromise SSL and TLS protocols, the company said. It suggested users delete the apps and their associated configuration profiles. However, it did not name the apps users should delete. Root certificates, or certificate authorities, "enable traffic to be intercepted, unknown to users," said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. [More...]

October 13, 2015
Longtime Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp last week published a blog post detailing her reasons for quitting the Linux kernel community. Sharp maintained the USB 3.0 host controller driver until January, when she decided to leave rather than continue to "contribute to a community where I was technically respected, but I could not ask for personal respect," she wrote. [More...]

October 12, 2015
I can understand Linux in the 1990s. It was backed largely by folks who didn't do well with others. The fights between the Linux and BSD folks were both legendary and juvenile, and Linux's existence seemed defined entirely by the revolt against Microsoft. Now, though, the platform is mainstream, and there's a huge effort by some of its corporate supporters to bring more women into technology. [More...]

October 10, 2015
Right after Google unveiled the first tablet it created entirely in-house, Microsoft has gone them one better. Its Surface Book is a high-end laptop that falls in line with the Surface ethos. It's a convertible that works in tablet format, but its keyboard appears vastly superior to the ones available for other Surface devices. From a specs standpoint, the Surface Book seems to pack the goods. [More...]

October 9, 2015
Samsung has assured users that their information is safe following a computer intrusion of a key company linked to its mobile payment system. The intrusion may have occurred as early as March. Samsung purchased LoopPay for $250 million in February. Its technology allows mobile phones to perform payment card transactions with older POS terminals that recognize only cards with magnetic strips. [More...]

October 9, 2015
Amazon on Thursday leapt into the Internet of Things market with the announcement of its AWS IoT platform. AWS IoT lets devices -- ranging from cars and turbines to sensor grids and light bulbs -- connect to services from Amazon Web Services. That in turn allows companies to store, process, analyze and act on the mountains of data generated by connected devices. [More...]

October 8, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced a pilot test of "Reactions," a way to respond to posts on the network in a more nuanced way than its Like button allows. The new feature is live in Spain and Ireland. CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously alluded to the eventual landing of a Like alternative, although he said it would not be a much-requested Dislike button. Facebook had good reasons to resist a Dislike button. [More...]

October 8, 2015
Google has announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, an open source initiative to speed up mobile Web page loading. The aim is to have Web pages with rich content -- such as video, animations and graphics -- work alongside smart ads and load instantly, with one code working across multiple platforms and devices. The project will use AMP HTML, an open framework based on existing Web technologies. [More...]

October 7, 2015
Canadian businesswoman Julia Cordray's plan to launch Peeple, a Yelp-like app that would let people post reviews about other people, has drawn fierce criticism in the tech press and the blogosphere, including a petition against the app's launch and a Twitter campaign to boycott it. "It's a legal and ethical minefield," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at 451 Research. [More...]

October 7, 2015
Philips on Monday unveiled Hue Bridge 2.0., which integrates the company's smart home products and iOS's HomeKit, giving users the ability to dictate to smart things from a Siri-enabled smartphone. Replacing its round predecessor, the square Hue Bridge 2.0 is compatible with Philips' legacy smart lights and controls. The hub will support new smart products from Philips for the foreseeable future. [More...]

October 7, 2015
Systems designed to protect networks against DDoS attacks can themselves be problematic. "There are tactics where traffic can get so bad that it will be 'black holed.' That's like throwing the baby out with the bath water," said NeuStar's Joe Loveless. "You're losing good traffic as well as the bad. With a good scrubbing service, you can maintain the good traffic while eliminating the bad." [More...]

October 7, 2015
Canonical last week announced plans to launch the Internet of Toys, an open source initiative calling on toy makers, hackers, Internet of Things fans and innovators to build the next generation of Web-accessing toys. Participants will build the next generation of toys around open source tools such as Cylon JS, Gobot, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Snapcraft, ROS and Erle-Spider. [More...]

October 6, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday held an event in New York City where it unveiled a laptop, a tablet, three Lumia smartphones and a fitness band -- all running Windows 10 -- along with a slew of other products. It also announced new apps for Windows 10, including Box, Facebook, Instagram, Flipagram, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Uber. All of the apps will be available on the new devices. [More...]

October 6, 2015
Adobe raised the curtain on two mobile apps and a basket of product upgrades at its MAX conference in Los Angeles. Both new apps -- Photoshop Fix and Capture CC -- are free, but they initially will be available only to users of Apple's mobile devices. Photoshop Fix includes some commonly used Photoshop features -- exposure, contrast and saturation control, as well as object and blemish removal. [More...]

October 6, 2015
Slackel is a Linux distro a step away from the mainstream Debian-based Linux OS line. It is based on Slackware and Salix. Users already familiar with that lineage are more inclined to like Slackel. Slackel offers a few advantages not usually found with the Slackware Linux lineup. The main difference is that its repository includes the current version of Slackware and the latest version of KDE. [More...]

October 5, 2015
Facebook and Eutelsat have entered a partnership to leverage satellite technology to provide Internet access to remote parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative, which includes a multiyear agreement with Spacecom, will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite as the backbone of a dedicated system that will include satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. [More...]

October 5, 2015
Google on Monday released an over-the-air update for Nexus devices, which includes patches for the latest Stagefright vulnerabilities and other flaws. Android's Stagefright media processing feature, which recently imperiled 1 billion devices around the world, was once again putting them at risk, Zimperium revealed last week. Zimperium found two new vulnerabilities. [More...]

October 5, 2015
The best smartphone on the market is the iPhone, right? That is the conventional wisdom. However, if I were to ask about the best shoes, shirt, car, boat or TV, the answers likely would be all over the map. When it comes to cars, for instance, I personally favor convertibles because they remind me of my youth when I could ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and they are just more fun. [More...]

Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering. [More...]

October 2, 2015
Improved performance and some app enhancements to boost productivity highlight the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Apple has made El Capitan available for download to its users from the Mac App Store. "Basic operations were just quicker, and Apple did a lot of work under the hood," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. [More...]

October 2, 2015
Nest Labs on Thursday said it would open its communications platform to third-party developers for the first time, which will allow outside home device makers to set up products that communicate directly with Nest products. Nest announced an update to its Nest Weave communications protocol that will allow outside developers to link other home devices to its own. [More...]

October 2, 2015
Researchers for the Security Intelligence Response Team at Akamai on Tuesday issued a high-risk threat advisory for XOR DDoS proliferation. The XOR DDoS Trojan is used to hijack Linux servers to build a botnet for distributed denial-of-service attacks with SYN and DNS floods, researchers tracking the malware said. The massive Linux-based botnet can take down websites under a flood of DDoS traffic. [More...]

October 1, 2015
Apple has updated its privacy policy with new information regarding features in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. The company attempts to set itself apart from rivals by noting that it doesn't build profiles about its customers to sell to advertisers. For example, unlike Google Maps, which tracks a user's journey end to end, Apple Maps separates data about users' trips into segments that are not linked. [More...]

October 1, 2015
Logitech on Wednesday announced a new monitoring system that links users to live feeds of their homes via an app. Called "Logi Circle," it picks up Nest's Dropcam model and expands it with mobility. On one end of the system is the app, available for both Android and iOS, which lets consumers view high-definition camera feeds live. On the other end is a portable camera, the size of a webcam. [More...]

October 1, 2015
TiVo on Wednesday urged users to give commercials the finger with its Bolt set-top box, which allows ad-skipping on some shows. The Bolt is available immediately online, and it will show up on store shelves this weekend. It comes in 500-GB and 1-TB versions, priced at $300 and $400, respectively, inclusive of one year of service. After that, users will pay $150 a year for the service. [More...]

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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.