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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...]

Tuesday - January 6, 2015
Microsoft got a fiery start to 2015 when Google last week publicized a kernel vulnerability in Windows 8.1 Update. Google Project Zero's James Forshaw, who discovered the flaw, ranked it as a high-severity issue. Although Forshaw reported it to Microsoft last September, the company had not yet fixed the problem when Google published it. The vulnerability lets people falsely pose as administrators. [More...]

Tuesday - January 6, 2015
gogoro-smartscooter-electric-scooter
Gogoro may succeed at bringing electric driving to the mainstream, starting with its Smartscooter, which already has been dubbed "the Tesla of e-scooters." Gogoro has better financial backing than other e-scooters, noted futurist Glen Hiemstra. It's "more a true, modest scooter than a motorcycle look or intent," and there's "much better consumer awareness of electric everything in 2015." [More...]

Monday - January 5, 2015
hp-pavilion-mini
HP has unveiled a couple of mini computers that can nestle comfortably in the palm of your hand. The tiny devices are full-fledged desktop PCs, though, running Windows 8.1. What's perhaps most interesting is the price range HP has set for the devices. The lower-end Stream Mini starts at just $180. "Vendors are looking for new and inventive ways to draw a user in," said IHS analyst Craig Stice. [More...]

Monday - January 5, 2015
Writing a CES teaser is a bit difficult because I actually know a great deal about what will be announced, but I can't share the details because I'm bound by a variety of ironclad NDAs. However, I can comment in general about the product categories you are going to see opened up at the show, and I have to say you'd better lock up your wallet because much of this is cool and you'll likely want it. [More...]

Friday - January 2, 2015
spacex falcon 9
Next week's challenge will be part of SpaceX's mission to use the Falcon 9 rocket to send an unmanned Dragon spacecraft to the ISS, much the way it did for the first time back in 2012. Over the next year, SpaceX plans at least a dozen more launches for further testing. It's likely that one of them will include not just landing a Falcon 9 first stage but also re-flying it, the company predicted. [More...]

Friday - January 2, 2015
Instagram recently added some new filters -- the first time it has done so in two years. Each of the filters included in the latest version allow users to make subtle mood changes to a photo. "Filters are becoming a competitive advantage for Instagram so I suspect you'll see it develop more filters as time goes on because that's the real value of their service," noted IDC Research Director Chris Chute. [More...]

Tuesday - December 30, 2014
new mind-controlled robotic arm in a project run by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Earlier this year, demonstrated her ability to use her thoughts to move the robot hand into different positions while controlling the wrist and arm. Mastering four distinct movements gave Scheuermann control of the hand in 10 dimensions. However, the school recently closed down the project. [More...]

Monday - December 29, 2014
Hacker Jan Krissler, aka "Starbug," this weekend told attendees at the 31st Chaos Computer Club convention that he had replicated the fingerprints of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leven using a standard photo camera and commercially available software. Krissler used a close-up of a photo of the minister's thumb and other pictures taken at different angles during a press event in October. [More...]

Monday - December 29, 2014
Check Point Software Technologies recently revealed a flaw in millions of routers that allows the devices to be controlled by hackers. The company detected 12 million Internet-connected devices that have the flaw. The vulnerability, which Check Point dubbed "Misfortune Cookie," can be found in the code of a commonly used embedded Web server, RomPager from AllegroSoft. [More...]

Monday - December 29, 2014
Last week, we looked back at the largely untold, or under told, stories of 2014. This week, let's look ahead to some of the stories that are coming in 2015. We'll have robots, self-driving cars, armed autonomous drones, the professional proliferation of head mounted cameras, some scandals, and some interesting political implications. I'll close with my product of the year, which even surprised me. [More...]

Friday - December 26, 2014
quantum-secure-authentication
Coupling quantum-secure authentication with biometrics "would add significantly to the difficulty" of using stolen cards, and geolocation tracking would invalidate it if it were used by a thief in a location away from the legitimate cardholder, suggested Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group. However, for general use, "I would expect the cost to be prohibitive." [More...]

Tuesday - December 23, 2014
Vulnerabilities in Signaling System 7, telephony signaling protocols used by carriers worldwide, allow third parties to listen to people's cellphone calls and intercept text messages despite encryption, The Washington Post reported last week. German cybersecurity researchers Tobias Engel of Sternraute and Karsten Nohl of Security Research Labs separately discovered these vulnerabilities. [More...]

Monday - December 22, 2014
sony-qrio-smart-lock
I am on the whole skeptical about the need for smart door locks, especially when it will do little to deter would-be burglars with a strong boot, yet there's something elegant and compelling about Sony's version that makes it stand out. If safety and security are not your thing, though, you might be as interested as I am in the Pyro, a wristband that shoots fireballs up to 10 feet. [More...]

Monday - December 22, 2014
It is time to look back at 2014, so I'll focus here on a series of stories I thought were interesting but didn't seem to catch much or any real air. Some, like what is really behind Sony's decision to pull The Interview still might take off. Hadoop analytics is one of the most powerful platforms to come to market, and one vendor stands out above all others: Cloudera. [More...]

Friday - December 19, 2014
apple-watch
Apple's new products will always be beautiful, but how all of our devices connect is what will bring meaningful change from Apple, not glitzy new watchbands and such. I believe this integrated thought is going on in Cupertino while most of us are obsessed with how screens on our wrists will look, and how we can cut out a cable bill to stream Netflix and still get live sporting events. [More...]

Friday - December 19, 2014
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Thursday said the United States "is actively considering a range of options" to take in response to the Sony hack. The hack is "very serious," Johnson said, though he refused to label it as a terrorist attack. There has been widespread suspicion that North Korea engineered the hack. The FBI is investigating. [More...]

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