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Facebook's Voter Turnout Efforts: Good, Bad or Pointless?
November 05, 2014
In the run-up to Tuesday's mid-term elections, suspicions were rife about the possibility of Facebook influencing the outcome. Facebook had joined Google, Twitter and other high-tech companies in urging people to vote, but skepticism about its motives ran high. In previous elections, it had turned its call to voters into sociological experiments, tweaking its approaches for different groups.
Microsoft Kicks Windows 8 to the Curb
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Friday ended retail sales of Windows 8, meaning that the only way the much-maligned operating system will be available from now on is preinstalled by PC vendors. Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate are no longer available at all as of Oct. 31, either for direct purchase or preinstalled. Both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8 remain available preinstalled.
Are There Too Many Forks at the FOSS Table?
November 03, 2014
Halloween has come and gone here in the Northern reaches of the Linux blogosphere, but for those of us paying attention, few things could be more frightful than the bloodshed now occurring in Debian's civil war. The streets of the blogosphere are filled with smoke; conversations are getting drowned out by the din of gunfire; and glasses are perpetually rattling down at the Punchy Penguin Saloon.
Russians Scrap Jobs Tribute Over Tim Cook's Being Gay
November 03, 2014
A group of Russian companies called the "Western European Financial Union" on Friday dismantled a 6-foot, 6-inch tribute to Steve Jobs following Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement that he's gay. The Jobs tribute -- an interactive kiosk in the shape of an iPhone -- had graced the courtyard of the National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in St. Petersburg.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare - You Won't Need a Season Pass to Fight Zombies
November 03, 2014
Activision Blizzard has released a new entry in the popular Call of Duty series. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, which was developed by Sledgehammer Games as part of a new three-year development cycle for the franchise, brings the action to the near future with emphasis on the multiplayer experience. However, its worldwide debut was not without controversy.
Gallup Poll: Credit Card Hacking Could Happen to Me
November 03, 2014
Over the 4th of July weekend, 82 people were shot in Chicago -- at least 14 died from their wounds. For the year, there were 63 homicides in Oakland as of late October. Philadelphians logged 47 homicides in the first 64 days of this year, two more than were killed in New York City during the same period. Yet results of a recent Gallup poll suggest the threat of credit card theft looms largest.
Defining a Hero: Why It Matters That Apple's CEO Is Gay
November 03, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced he is gay. Typically, when a CEO's personal life becomes a major issue, it is a bad thing. I do think this will have an adverse impact on Apple's sales, but I also think it will have a beneficial impact on the world. I'll share my thoughts about why a CEO doing something both controversial and potentially heroic is a good thing.
Cyberattacks Could Wreak Widespread Havoc by 2025
November 03, 2014
The Pew Research Center last week released a report suggesting that cyberattacks in the next 10 years might cause major destruction of human lives and tens of billions of dollars in property damage. However, the situation might not be as overwhelming as the raw numbers indicate, said report author Janna Quitney Anderson, director of the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University.
Tim Cook Makes Waves, Creates Ripple Effect
October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday publicly proclaimed he is gay. While his sexual orientation isn't news, his strong acknowledgment sparked a wave of discussions and drew kudos from his Silicon Valley peers and others. "My first reaction was, 'It's 2014, so what? So many other famous people have come out as gay, why does one more matter?" said technology journalist Mitch Wagner. "But I was wrong."
Snail Mail Surveillance: Rules Are Weak - and Routinely Broken
October 30, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service didn't adequately follow its own rules last year, when it secretly recorded and shared information about some 49,000 pieces of mail to further criminal and national security investigations, according to an audit report from the Office of Inspector General. Information recorded under the service's longstanding mail cover program is limited to what's written on the exterior.
Elon Musk Calls for Preventive AI Demon Wrangling
October 28, 2014
Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, among his many roles, this week warned about the threat humans face from artificial intelligence. AI is probably our biggest existential threat, he told students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon," Musk said, indicating that it might not be possible to control it.
Battered Aereo Takes a Couple More Blows
October 28, 2014
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week granted broadcasters' request for a temporary restraining order against Aereo. This is the latest setback for the would-be cable-killer service, which was suspended following a Supreme Court ruling this summer. Aereo had utilized small dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals and stream the content to subscribers over the Internet.
Technology Taxes Come at a Steep Cost, Report Finds
October 28, 2014
Slapping taxes on information and communication technologies can cost countries more money than it brings in, says a study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Most of the countries imposing high taxes are lower- or middle-income nations in Africa, South Asia and America. The report's release coincides with protests in Hungary over the government's plan to tax ISPs.
Debian's Civil War: Has It Really Come to This?
October 27, 2014
Well it seems no matter how loudly we here in the Linux blogosphere try to hum a happy tune or discuss cheerful FOSS matters, we just can't seem to drown out the shouts and screams coming from those standing too close to the Systemd Inferno. Stand back, people! It's dangerous! The embers, of course, had been hot for some time already before the blaze flared sky-high a few months ago.
CVS, Rite Aid Kick Apple Pay to the Curb
October 27, 2014
Consumers who had been using Apple Pay at CVS and Rite Aid received a rude shock over the weekend when the chains turned off the technology at their stores. Apple Pay enables mobile payments using the latest iPhone models or Apple Watch. The technology underlying it -- near field communications -- allows transactions to be performed on a point-of-sale terminal with a tap or wave of a phone.
Detroit's Stupid Plan to Kill Tesla
October 27, 2014
In watching the illicit attempts of dealers and U.S. auto companies to try to kill Tesla, I have to think they are all wrongheaded. I don't drive a Tesla, but this kind of thing makes me really mad because it is so incredibly stupid. Tesla is as much an idea as it is a company -- and an idea that should be flowing through the car industry anyway, because the world is changing.
Robots Gearing Up to Join Ebola Front Lines
October 24, 2014
The White House and roboticists have set Nov. 7 to get together in a workshop to explore ways of using robots to help in the battle against Ebola. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will cohost the workshop on safety robotics for Ebola workers, with Texas A&M University's Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, or CRASAR.
Zuckerberg Talks His Way Into Chinese Hearts and Minds
October 24, 2014
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on stage at Tsinghua University in Beijing Wednesday for a 30-minute Q&A session, the audience expected him to do what foreigners generally do: Utter a few words in Mandarin to acknowledge their culture, then depend heavily on translators. Instead, Zuckerberg elicited gasps of approval from the audience when he spoke in Mandarin all the way.
Space Explorers Hole Up in Hawaii to Simulate Life on Mars
October 23, 2014
The third in a series of four simulated missions to Mars planned by NASA kicked off last week at a remote site on the Hawaiian island of Mauna Loa. A six-person team, comprising the Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation 3 mission, is inhabiting a dome for an eight-month study of the human factors that contribute to astronaut crew function and performance over time.
Is Amazon a Robber Baron or a Robin Hood?
October 23, 2014
Amazon's tactics in its ongoing battles with content publishers are fast becoming a bone of contention. The company has delayed distributing content from companies it's tussling with over content price points or its cut of the take. It's been steering customers to other publishers, at times overtly. Amazon's actions have given rise to speculation that it might perhaps be getting too powerful.
FTC Snags Soltani for Chief Technologist Role
October 22, 2014
Privacy expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ashkan Soltani will be the FTC's new chief technologist, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Tuesday. "Ashkan is well qualified and was an excellent choice for the agency," said Ginger McCall, an associate director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Soltani will succeed Latanya Sweeney in the position beginning in November.
Kickstarter Puts Kibosh on Tor-Based Router Funding
October 21, 2014
Kickstarter on Friday suspended a crowdfunding campaign for Anonabox, a portable networking device designed specifically to run Tor. The campaign for the privacy-minded router, which launched earlier last week, was wildly successful. In just a few days, it reportedly garnered more than $600,000 in pledged funds from thousands of backers. The Kickstarter goal for the $45 device was just $7,500.
Black Box Keeps Cybersnoops in Dark
October 21, 2014
Following Edward Snowden's revelations about indiscriminate government snooping on U.S. citizens, many Net surfers would like to find a way to lower their visibility on the Internet. There are a number of tools in cyberspace that can help a soul do that, but they can take time and savvy to set up. That's why Kerry Cox launched the Sierra Project, which he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.
BBC to Preserve Memory of Its 'Forgotten' Articles
October 17, 2014
The BBC will publish and continually update a list of its published articles that were removed from Google searches under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the BBC, announced the move. The decision is a reaction to the EC ruling that search engines must remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links upon request.

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