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Apple Car Talk Starts Making Sense
September 23, 2015
The Apple car rumor gained some legs this week with a report that brings some interesting new insight. Though a bit shy on verifiable details -- it cites unnamed people familiar with Apple's plans and vaguely refers to people inside Apple -- the report suggests the company will triple its current 600-person team to 1,800 people as it ramps up its car development effort, code-named "Titan."
Skype Skips Monday
September 21, 2015
Microsoft has confirmed that network issues crippled the consumer version of Skype. Some users reported no success in logging in. Others managed to log in, but weren't recognized as being online. The network issues affected only the consumer version of the service, according to Microsoft. So Skype for Business was still in business. It's unclear when Microsoft expects to resolve the problem.
Tests, Lies and Volkswagen
September 21, 2015
German automaker Volkswagen on Sunday admitted that it installed software that doctored the pollution tests for diesel vehicles sold in the United States. Volkswagen stock, which is listed in Europe, fell more than 20 percent Monday morning on the announcement. The company apparently was concerned that meeting the federal emissions standards would require it to degrade the vehicles' engines.
DMV Meeting Revs Apple Car Rumors
September 21, 2015
Apple executives reportedly met with officials from California's Department of Motor Vehicles regarding the company's plans to test an autonomous vehicle. Mike Maletic, senior legal counsel for Apple, had an hour-long meeting in August with California's autonomous vehicle experts, including the cosponsors of the state's autonomous vehicle regulation project.
Carly Fiorina vs. Donald Trump: The Fascinating Difference
September 21, 2015
Watching the Republican debates has been a fascinating experience, because I started following Carly Fiorina when she first took over HP. I thought then and I still think that Steve Jobs was the only one to match her on-stage presence and skill set. History has proven her assertion that it was HP's board, not it's CEO, that was the primary problem that needed to be fixed while she was there.
The Unsinkable Kim Dotcom?
September 18, 2015
Someone perhaps even more flamboyant than Donald Trump may be getting involved in the U.S. presidential race -- and not on the Republican side. Notorious Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is not running for office, but as his extradition case heats up in New Zealand, a possible Democratic candidate for the presidency -- mild-mannered Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig -- has come to his defense.
Microsoft Shoots Itself in the Foot
September 17, 2015
Shame on you Microsoft! Last week you admitted to downloading gigabits of Windows 10 data to users' hard drives without permission. The problem is, that move both took up our hard drive space and triggered Internet Service Provider fees. You did it without even asking our permission. Hey, Microsoft, who the hell do you think you are? The simple solution is this: Ask permission.
Facebook's Button Pushing: What's Not to Like?
September 16, 2015
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that Facebook may integrate an alternative to its ubiquitous Like button. Facebook users have asked for a Dislike button for years, and the company now is preparing to test a response to that user demand. The idea is not to transform Facebook into a forum where users could in essence vote up or down on particular posts -- that isn't the point.
When Data Breaks the News
September 15, 2015
Google is putting a new spin on the news. Instead of relying on journalists to gather facts and report events the old-fashioned way, the company's News Lab, launched earlier this year, aims to deliver news stories through data. Case in point: Who needs polls to reveal that Donald Trump is the most popular candidate in the Republican primary free-for-all?
Fear of Ad Blocking Could Lead to More Effective Advertising
September 10, 2015
Adblock Browser for Android re-emerged at the Google Play store on Wednesday, after more than two years of banishment. It is also available at the iTunes App Store. "The reason we were readmitted to the Play store is that this app is different than the one that was kicked out. This one is a browser. The previous one provided some blocking for in-app ads," said Eyeo's Ben Williams.
Report: Amazon to Build Cut-Rate Slate
September 8, 2015
Amazon reportedly plans to offer a $50 tablet in time for the holiday shopping season. The 6-inch tablet would sell for half the price of the Fire HD 6. A $50 price point would make a tablet disposable to some and finally affordable to others -- points apparently not lost on Amazon. Though there's no argument it would be a killer price point, there remains the question of quality.
Apple, Hollywood Honchos Put Heads Together
September 8, 2015
Apple has been mulling a move to commission original programming for its Apple TV, and top Hollywood decision makers reportedly have been helping with the strategizing. Although in-the-know execs spilled a few beans, they didn't paint a cohesive picture of Apple's plans. Some suggested Apple was just flirting with the idea, while others hinted that it might be planning a major undertaking.
Google's Rebuttal Against EU May Be in Vain
September 3, 2015
Google has responded to the EC's statement of objections regarding its search practices by rejecting outright the Europeans' argument that its innovations were anticompetitive. The SO, published in April, doesn't support the claim that the company's displays of paid ads diverted traffic away from shopping services, Google said. Nor does it counter major advantages to consumers and advertisers.
Taken to Extremes, 'Right to Be Forgotten' Is Like Burning Virtual Books
August 31, 2015
The highest court in the EU last year ordered Google to allow individuals there to request that certain specific information not be reported in Google search engine results, citing their "right to be forgotten." Since that court ruling, hundreds of thousands of EU residents have requested that Google eliminate certain information, and Google routinely has complied with many of those requests.
Apple TV May Finally Grab the Spotlight
August 31, 2015
The next version of the Apple TV set-top box could be ready for prime time in October, priced at either $149 or $199, based on rumors circulating Monday. The current version goes for $99. With the higher price could come a seriously upgraded device: It will include support for Siri, a new touchscreen remote control, and a new and more intuitive interface.
Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
August 28, 2015
Police in North Dakota can use drones armed with what are optimistically called "nonlethal weapons," thanks to the passage of House Bill 1328, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this spring. The new law gives police the authority in a roundabout way: Section 5 states a law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with lethal weapons.
Cyber-Posse Aims to Round Up Ashley Madison Hackers
August 25, 2015
The Toronto Police Service on Monday reported on the progress of Project Unicorn, the official investigation into the hack attack on Ashley Madison, an adultery-promoting website. The Toronto police are working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the RCMP, the FBI, and the Ministry of the Attorney General's criminal law office in carrying out the investigation.
Samsung to Ask SC to Reverse Tide in Apple Case
August 24, 2015
Samsung last week filed a motion to stay the U.S. Court of Appeals' order in its multiyear patent war with Apple, indicating that it plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung reportedly will ask the Court to hear its appeal of a 2012 federal jury's verdict that it violated Apple's iPhone patents. Samsung has received support for its position from several large tech firms.
Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Mum Robot Goes Darwinian on Her Kids
August 21, 2015
A "mother" robot has demonstrated natural selection and the process of evolution in action, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Scientists typically have to go back in time to study evolution -- it's rarely observable over the course of a human lifetime. However, for robots and artificial intelligence, it's a different story.
Ashley Madison Hackers: Catch Them if You Can
August 20, 2015
The Ashley Madison hacker gang will be tough to apprehend. The hackers this week dumped nearly 10 gigabytes of stolen personal data onto the Web -- details gleaned from accounts established on the site, which is dedicated to matching up people who want to engage in extramarital affairs. It's "nearly impossible" to track down attackers, noted Bit9 + Carbon Black's Ben Johnson.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Ashley Madison World
August 19, 2015
Hackers have dumped personal data of about 37 million members of the Ashley Madison website onto the Dark Web. The data was stolen in an attack on the site, which aims to hook up people who want to cheat on their spouses. Parent company "Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men," the Impact Team wrote in a post online. ... Now everyone gets to see their data."
Truth May Be Wiggly in Wikipedia's Hot-Button Science Articles
August 18, 2015
Users should take extra care when exploring Wikipedia's science topics, because many articles on controversial issues such as global warming and acid rain have been targeted for editing by revisionists who reject scientific findings, new research has found. Due to its crowdsourced model, academics widely regard Wikipedia as a starting point for research -- a compass more than a map.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Bezos Rebuffs Expose of Amazon's Cold-Blooded Culture
August 17, 2015
CEO Jeff Bezo on Sunday refuted contentions that Amazon has a draconian workplace culture. "The NYT article prominently features anecdotes describing shockingly callous management practices, including people being treated without empathy while enduring family tragedies and serious health problems," Bezos wrote in an email sent to Amazon employees following the article's publication.
Chinese Hackers May Have Burrowed Into Airlines
August 11, 2015
The China-based hacking team that has been infiltrating U.S. government and business computer systems appears to be behind two newly discovered attacks -- this time on travel reservation processor Sabre and American Airlines. Sabre confirmed that its systems -- which contain sensitive records on as many as a billion travelers -- recently were breached. American Airlines is investigating.
The Best Videos on Facebook Could Be Stolen Property
August 11, 2015
Facebook has stolen videos for display on its site, alleged Hank Green of VlogBrothers. A whopping 725 of the 1,000 most popular videos on Facebook in Q1 were freebooted -- that is, re-uploaded to the social media network without authorization -- he said, citing a report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs. Those 725 videos accounted for about 17 billion views in the quarter, Green noted.
Android on BlackBerry Is Looking More Real
August 10, 2015
BlackBerry's upcoming slider handset, aka "Venice," will run on Android and will be available in the coming months for AT&T as well as T-Mobile, according to rumors that picked up steam over the weekend. This is not the first time rumors of a BlackBerry device running on Android have made the rounds. The company earlier this year hinted at the possibility at the Mobile World Congress.
Google on Universal Right to Be Forgotten: Fuhgeddaboudit
August 7, 2015
Google last week asked French regulators to withdraw a demand to universally delist from search results links to information about French citizens who wish to be forgotten on the Internet. Any European can ask to have certain links about them removed from search results that appear in Europe, and Google will grant those requests if they meet specific criteria.
Report: Apple Is Kicking the MVNO Tires
August 5, 2015
Apple is in discussions to become a mobile virtual network operator in both Europe and the United States, where it's already running a trial of its service, according to a media report. The MVNO idea may not advance beyond the test phase -- and if it does, it likely won't happen for some time -- at least five years. However, Apple on Tuesday issued a denial that it has held MVNO discussions.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.