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January 31, 2015
JoyWing's Wishbone is a fancier thermometer than what you or I will have seen on any trip to the doctor. It's a smartphone attachment that gives temperature readouts within a couple of seconds without even having to touch the person or material it's examining, thanks to an infrared sensor. It's inexpensive, at $26-35 for those pledging to the crowdfunding drive, and I like the capacity to track the temperature changes of an object over a period of time. That feature could come in especially handy for fussy new parents. [More...]

January 30, 2015
The Gamergate controversy, which centers on sexism and sexual violence in the video game industry, has made things hot for Wikipedia, whose arbitration committee has taken punitive action against some of the people involved in the debate. The committee decided to impose a complete site-wide ban on one male editor, with the handle "Ryulong," said Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson Juliet Barbara. [More...]

January 30, 2015
Google has decided not to fix vulnerabilities in WebView for Android 4.3 and older, sparking heated discussions among developers. Those versions of WebView run on the WebKit browser. Fixing them "required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do so safely," explained Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security. [More...]

January 29, 2015
spacex-falcon-heavy
SpaceX has released a stunning video animation depicting its Falcon Heavy rocket launching into space and then returning home to Earth. If the Falcon Heavy works as planned and can be recovered for reuse, "it could reduce the cost per kilo to transport [a payload] to orbit from millions of dollars to thousands," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Mike Jude. [More...]

January 29, 2015
Canada's spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, has been eavesdropping on 102 free file upload sites, including Sendspace, Rapidshare and Megaupload, which has been shut down. A CSE program called "Levitation" lets analysts access information on 10-15 million uploads and downloads of files from such sites daily, according to documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. [More...]

January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops. [More...]

January 28, 2015
Patches for GHOST, a critical vulnerability in glibc, the Linux GNU C Library, now are available through vendor communities for a variety of Linux server and desktop distributions. Qualys earlier this week reported its discovery of GHOST, a vulnerability that allows attackers to remotely take control of an entire system without having any prior knowledge of system credentials. [More...]

January 28, 2015
Hackers are like gold miners. Once they find a rich vein for their malware, they mine it until it's dry. Point-of-sale terminals are such a vein, and it doesn't appear that it's one that's about to run dry any time soon. Following the success of the Target breach in 2013, the hacker underground was quick to rush more POS malware to market. [More...]

January 27, 2015
oculus-vr-story-studio-virtual-reality-lost
Oculus VR has announced Story Studio -- a project that will create cinematic virtual reality experiences. "This is an effort to create a tool that will ... help people see what is possible, so someone will create the definitive title for this hardware -- something that will have people champing at the bit to buy and use one," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. [More...]

January 27, 2015
Google may have contributed to violating the First Amendment rights of three journalists working for WikiLeaks two and a half years ago, when it turned over to the FBI all their email, subscriber information and metadata. Google informed the journalists about its actions last month, saying that it had been unable to do so earlier due to a gag order. [More...]

January 26, 2015
darpa-atlas-robot
Atlas will be entered into the DARPA Robotics Challenge in June. The challenge aims at developing robots for use in disaster response, and participants will face conditions simulating a real disaster, such as degraded communications. "It isn't unusual to lose more lives after a disaster because of some problem with the rescue than were at risk in the first place," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. [More...]

January 26, 2015
A group of developers made good on their threats to fork Debian Linux late last year, after the community's leadership voted to replace sysvinit with systemd, making systemd the default init boot process. The Debian Technical Committee's decision spurred several key Debian developers and project maintainers to resign. Some of them formed a new community dedicated to forking Debian. [More...]

January 26, 2015
windows-10
In companies filled with engineers, products tend to become science projects more than things for real people. Folks do things because they can -- because they want to see what will happen or simply because they want to showcase they have the authority. Satya Nadella's Microsoft is a very different company, though. People are working together again, and the product looks amazing as a result. [More...]

January 24, 2015
microsoft-hololens
Microsoft's HoloLens seems at once fantastical and feasible. It's a shame it looks like a motorcycle visor, since that will limit how many people will use it outside of their homes and offices, but at least it's far less obnoxious than Google Glass. I'll be especially eager to try it out once Xbox One starts using the technology in games. I'm all in, Microsoft. [More...]

January 23, 2015
ford-motor-research-development-silicon-valley
Its new Palo Alto research center "shows Ford's commitment to be part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem -- anticipating customers' wants and needs, especially on connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles," said CEO Mark Fields. "We are working to make these new technologies accessible to everyone, not just luxury customers." Fields is pictured here speaking at CES earlier this year. [More...]

January 23, 2015
The developmental path and sketchy developer website may cast an unfavorable impression about Zenwalk's trustworthiness as a serious computing platform. The ho-hum impression when first running the live edition does little to encourage users to take this Linux OS for a stroll. Zenwalk Linux becomes a bit more impressive once you get beyond the awkward first-time experience. [More...]

January 23, 2015
windows-10
Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be its most-loved OS release, and it appears to be off and running. Making it a free upgrade, for starters, is one way to curry favor. Windows 10 "will be our best enterprise platform ever, simplifying management and deployment for IT and working seamlessly with existing enterprise applications," said Terry Myerson, EVP of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group. [More...]

January 22, 2015
crash-override-zoe-quinn
Zoe Quinn -- the first target of #Gamergate's relentlessly brutal, obscene and murderous threats against women in gaming -- is fighting back with a new online community, Crash Override. The network is a safe haven for victims of cyberbullying, harassment and stalking, providing them with a means to relate their stories, as well as to seek help from a group of sympathetic professionals. [More...]

January 22, 2015
acer-chromebook
Chromebooks have found a home in the classroom, thanks to their low cost, multiple user-friendly features, and construction that can take some hard knocks. Acer's latest models, the Chromebook C910 (pictured here) and the Chromebook C740, are integrated with Google Docs, the company's free or low-fee productivity apps. Documents are automatically stored in Google's cloud. [More...]

January 22, 2015
The most important and daring move that Microsoft made Wednesday is far and away making the upgrade to Windows 10 free. Seems dirt-simple and intuitive on the surface, but it represents a startling and abrupt shift in both how users will relate to Microsoft and how Microsoft innovates with Windows going forward. I'm an unabashed Apple fan -- but I can appreciate a smart move when I see one. [More...]

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