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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...]

Thursday - December 18, 2014
minecraft-story-mode
Minecraft's story will begin unfolding next year, and the game's fans will drive the narrative. There could be "lots of contradictory things thrown out there before they settle on something cool," said gaming analyst Lewis Ward, but "from a marketing standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world for the community to be catered to on the level of, 'you guys are going to write this.'" [More...]

Thursday - December 18, 2014
Privacy's future appears muddy at best, judging from a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. More than 2,500 Internet experts and analysts were narrowly divided on whether policy makers and technology innovators would create a secure, popularly accepted and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025. [More...]

Thursday - December 18, 2014
bmw-self-parking-car
BMW has come up with an electronic version of slapping your horse on the rump and sending it off -- and then whistling when you need your ride again. Its Remote Valet Parking Assistant doesn't do all the driving for you, but it does relieve you of one of its most tedious aspects: parking the car. Just don't let your smartwatch battery wear down, or you may have to whistle to get it back. [More...]

Wednesday - December 17, 2014
sony-interview-cancellations-rogen-franco-kim-jong-un-north-korea
The Interview may be a huge exception to Hollywood's rule that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Moviegoers may not be curious enough about the comedy to risk becoming victims of a terrorist attack -- whether carried out by North Korea, the Guardians of the Peace, or some crazy person who's caught up in the uproar. Maybe Sony should try an online launch or send it straight to DVD. [More...]

Wednesday - December 17, 2014
A group of some 150 companies last week moved closer to eliminating the bane of many an online user: the ubiquitous password. The FIDO Alliance, which counts among its members Microsoft, PayPal, Google, Bank of America, Visa and MasterCard, released version 1.0 of its open specifications for strong authentication on the Internet without the use of passwords. [More...]

Wednesday - December 17, 2014
google-cardboard-virtual-reality
Google's Cardboard virtual reality viewer would have been a worthy April Fool's Day joke, but the cheap gizmo actually works, and developers actually are working to create content for it that goes beyond gimmickry. "Google Cardboard and its SDK open up possibilities for any developer to be the one that brings a unique experience to VR," noted Strategy Analytics' Eric Smith. [More...]

Tuesday - December 16, 2014
skype-translate
Microsoft has launched a new tool that could make the world smaller than ever. The Skype Translator so far only works with the English and Spanish languages, but others likely will be added over time. One of the biggest concerns over this service is accuracy. "How could someone detect or catch it if a mistake is made in the translation?" wondered San Diego State professor Mark Ballam. [More...]

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