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A Dream of America's Forefathers
April 18, 2014
Last week marked the 224th anniversary of the U.S. patent system, an institution designed and brought forth to promote progress in the fledgling nation. Despite its value for more than two centuries, that system is under attack. Until the late 18th Century, innovative colonists in the Americas relied on British-based patent laws to obtain colonial patents.
Smartphone Kill Switch Gets Breath of Life
April 16, 2014
CTIA and major mobile manufacturers, providers and operating system makers have entered a voluntary agreement to include antitheft measures in smartphones. The security and safety of mobile users is the top priority for the industry, according to CTIA, and the agreement is intended to protect consumers from smartphone theft while providing companies' with the ability to innovate.
FBI May Pick Out Your Face in a Crowd
April 16, 2014
The FBI is planning to have a fully operational facial recognition system in place by this summer and may be well on its way to reaching that goal. The system will be able to query a database of photos to identify individuals based on their appearance even if they do not have a criminal record, reported Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
The Pace of Federal IT Innovation Requires Vendor Patience
April 11, 2014
Federal information technology managers are as intrigued as any other IT community by the potential benefits from IT innovations. However, many federal managers continue to face challenges in adopting innovative technologies. Lack of funding, employee skill gaps, and lack of organizational buy-in are the top three constraints that inhibit the use of new technologies.
The Cloud's Long Tail: Industry-Specific SaaS Solutions
April 11, 2014
A new wave of opportunities is emerging to create industry-specific Software as a Service and cloud computing vertical market solutions. A number of new examples of this phenomenon have crossed my radar over the past few weeks which clearly illustrate the long tail effect of the cloud. The most prominent recent example of SaaS verticalization has been Veeva's successful IPO.
Dropbox Reaches for Brass Ring With Photo-Sharing Carousel
April 10, 2014
Dropbox on Wednesday unveiled Carousel, a new app designed to function as a storage space for users' photos and videos. The Carousel app allows Dropbox users to organize, share and save photos from their Android or iOS phone as well as from Dropbox. Photos are sorted by event to allow for easy access to the files, and the app automatically backs up new photos or videos.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Comcast Argues TWC Merger Would Level Playing Field
April 09, 2014
Comcast on Wednesday pulled out all the stops in a "public interest" statement on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, one day before it has to appear before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill for questioning about the deal. Hot buttons such as Net neutrality, consumer choice, better and lower-cost services for business, and competition were touched on.
Google Sees Glass in Businesses' Future
April 09, 2014
Google's smart eyeware, Glass, largely has been considered a diversion for gadget fans, but the company just announced a new program to encourage its use in the workplace. "Today, there are thousands of consumers out there enjoying Glass in ways that are both practical and inspirational," said a Google spokesperson. "We've also seen many in the enterprise world ... begin experimenting with Glass."
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
Microsoft's Nokia Deal Clears China Hurdle
April 09, 2014
Microsoft's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business is moving closer to the finish line, having just won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce. It is a key milestone for the transaction, which sailed through the U.S. and European approval processes with little difficulty or delay. The deal is expected to close this month.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
XP Users Have a Bad Headache Coming On
April 07, 2014
Money will be the biggest problem users of Windows XP will face when Microsoft officially stops supporting it on Tuesday. As a last resort, Microsoft is offering custom support for Windows XP as a temporary stopgap. That could cost as much as $200 per PC per year, Gartner estimated. The UK government reportedly has paid Microsoft about $9 million to extend Windows XP support for one year.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Net Brass Calm Solons' Woes Over 'Internet Giveaway'
April 04, 2014
The lords of the Internet and the Obama administration this week sought to calm congressional fears that the U.S. was planning to give control of the Web to foreign powers. At a public hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fadi Chehadé, president and CEO of ICANN, and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling argued to get the U.S. out of the Internet governance business.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
Net Neutrality Wins Tough Battle in European Parliament
April 03, 2014
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new Net neutrality rules. Net neutrality, both in the EU and in the U.S., refers to the concept of requiring ISPs to treat all traffic the same regardless of its source. In Europe, that means ISPs such as Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom can't deliver content from competitive providers of, say, online videos, via slower pipes or make them pay more.

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