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Thursday - January 15, 2015
Rumors about Microsoft's new browser, code-named "Spartan," have been heating up: It will be an app; no, it will not. It will replace Internet Explorer -- no, it will not. It will use Microsoft's Trident rendering engine and the Chakra JavaScript engine developed for IE 9. Probably. Spartan will look and work more like lightweight browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. No, it won't. [More...]

Wednesday - January 14, 2015
facebook-amber-alert-abducted-children
Social networking already has resulted in rescuing some abducted children, but Facebook's addition of a systematic Amber Alert tool is sure to be even more effective. "This is a great thing, and a long time coming," said WiredSafety.org's Parry Aftab. In the past 16 years, more than 700 kids have been recovered because of Amber Alerts, so Facebook's effort "is going to save the lives of children." [More...]

Wednesday - January 14, 2015
Google has released a new version of its Translate app for Android and iOS. It now lets users instantly translate text in foreign languages using their smartphone cameras. The translation will appear overlaid on the smartphone screen. Translate app features available on iOS for the first time are camera mode, including Word Lens; and conversational mode, said Google spokesperson Roya Soleimani. [More...]

Wednesday - January 14, 2015
google-project-ara-modular-smartphone-puerto-rico
Google wants to let consumers build their own smartphones through a modular system called "Project Ara," but it's not clear whether that's something the average Joe really wants to do. It's going to be a significant challenge "to explain this to consumers so that their heads don't spin," said IDC's Ramon Llamas. "In general, consumers don't come along with engineering degrees." [More...]

Wednesday - January 14, 2015
Recent research from security firm Cloudmark has raised doubt about the purported connection between North Korea and last November's intrusion on Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer networks. The FBI last week continued to press its case that North Korea was behind the cyberattack, pointing to an exposed block of IP addresses allocated to North Korea. [More...]

Tuesday - January 13, 2015
comey-fbi-north-korea-sony-cyberattack
A trail of breadcrumbs led the FBI to conclude that North Korea was behind the recent massive cyberattack on Sony, but it's not clear who left the trail or why. Perhaps it was "sloppy" North Korean hackers -- or perhaps clever North Korean hackers who wanted credit. Or maybe it was hackers who wanted to trick the U.S. into wrongfully accusing the volatile and unpredictable North Korean government. [More...]

Tuesday - January 13, 2015
lg-webos-smartwatch-audi-ces-2015
Everybody seems to like webOS, but the operating system has had trouble finding a place in the sun. It wasn't sexy enough to save Palm, and despite spending more than a billion dollars to acquire the ailing company, HP didn't seem to have any idea what to do with the OS and gave it away. LG, the latest to own webOS rights and sponsor its open source community, may be the first to see it succeed. [More...]

Tuesday - January 13, 2015
Google soon will update its Translate mobile app to render words spoken in popular languages into written text, according to reports. This feature is already available for some major languages in the Google Chrome browser. In essence, the update will let two people converse in their own native tongues by listening to both and automatically translating their words. [More...]

Monday - January 12, 2015
volkswagen-golf
Volkswagen's Golf and Ford's F-150 claimed the prestigious car and truck of the year awards at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. "This win is huge for VW," said Justin Cupler, editor in chief of TopSpeed.com. "It is a little surprising actually, because normally the Golf doesn't attract a lot of attention. It is one of those cars that simply sells in volume." [More...]

Monday - January 12, 2015
By this time, you likely are getting a bit sick out of folks talking about wild new products that won't be on the market for weeks or months while you are paying your Christmas bills. So rather than tell you about a slew of new products, I'll focus on the back stories that didn't seem to get much coverage at CES -- what now is the largest technology show in the U.S. [More...]

Saturday - January 10, 2015
sony-high-res-walkman
Sony just won't let the Walkman glide off gracefully into the sunset. The latest incarnation, the ZX2 (pictured here), is a high-end music player that's said to offer crystal-clear audio. That's great! I'm all for consumers enjoying music and movies as artists intended them to be experienced, but I can't justify shelling out $1,120 for a fancy music player when my phone does the trick just fine. [More...]

Friday - January 9, 2015
cepheus-computer-poker-research-group-university-alberta
There might not be much practical use for a computer program that can always win at Texas hold'em, but the University of Alberta's Cepheus -- which apparently has learned how to do just that -- represents an important advance in AI research. Possible future applications include deciding optimal medical treatments, obtaining guidance on investments, and political and military strategizing. [More...]

Friday - January 9, 2015
"100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!" reads the bubble in this Charlie Hebdo cover. Devastated by a terrorist attack that took 12 lives and left 11 injured, apparently as a reprisal for satirizing Islamic radicalism, the magazine's surviving staff nevertheless plan to publish on schedule next week. Google and others have pledged funds to support their largest print run ever. [More...]

Thursday - January 8, 2015
ford-motor-ceo-mark-fields-ces-2015
Several self-driving cars of the future were on display at CES 2015, but if Ford Motor has its way, autonomous vehicles will reach the mass market sooner rather than later. The technology appears to be almost fully baked, but what may take much longer to work out are rules, regulations and insurance policies, suggested Frost & Sullivan analyst Praveen Chandrasekar. [More...]

Thursday - January 8, 2015
kepler-planets-habitable-earth-like-goldilocks
NASA's Kepler observatory has discovered two new "Goldilocks" planets, which earned the nickname by appearing to be just right for supporting life as we know it. The planets' potential for habitability is based on their size, distance from their suns, and likelihood of being rocky. "We don't know for sure whether any of the planets in our sample are truly habitable," said astronomer David Kipping. [More...]

Thursday - January 8, 2015
There is a hot new MacBook Air rumor that's got the tech press all in a flutter, and get this: It's not about a long-awaited Retina display for the MacBook Air. Instead, the rumor claims that Apple's redesigned MacBook Air will be remarkably smaller, with a 12-inch screen -- and just one port. The new MacBook Air design reportedly will drop the current MacBook Air's USB 3 ports. [More...]

Wednesday - January 7, 2015
samsung-gear-vr-virtual-reality-2015-ces
Virtual reality wares are making a strong showing at this year's CES, even though few products are available for the mainstream market. On the show floor, "Oculus Rift was the most visible, but Samsung had what appeared to be the best implementation," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. 3DHead introduced its own headset display, which can be used to develop virtual worlds for films or gaming. [More...]

Wednesday - January 7, 2015
Ever since smartphone makers started incorporating fingerprint scanners as a means of unlocking mobile phones, the Chaos Computer Club has attacked the technology with vigor. Not long after Apple added Touch ID to its iPhones, the German hackers demonstrated how to lift prints from a surface and create a flexible pad containing the print that could be used to break into a phone. [More...]

Tuesday - January 6, 2015
sony-high-res-walkman
Everyone had a Walkman in the 80s. Now Sony is positioning its newest Walkman for an elite crowd -- music lovers willing to shell out $1,200 for a superb mobile listening experience. "Sony's reputation for producing premium products has all but disappeared over the past 20 years," said Tellus Venture's Steve Blum. "Introducing the high-resolution Walkman is an effort to reclaim it." [More...]

Tuesday - January 6, 2015
samsung-ceo-bk-yoon-internet-things-ces-2015
Samsung CEO BK Yoon stopped short of asking the audience to hold hands and sing along, but his depiction of the Internet of Things as an Internet of People was starry-eyed nonetheless. "This was a talk on IoT and how wonderful it will be with everyone connected, but no real discussion on how we will get there or the problems that will need to be overcome," noted tech analyst Rob Enderle. [More...]

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