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No Respite for Sony
December 12, 2014
Since the hacker group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" announced its attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment late last month, things have gone downhill for the company. After confidential documents were leaked to the Internet over several days, a denouement of sorts was reached last week, when a security company examining the stolen data discovered nearly 50,000 Social Security numbers.
Plundered Pirate Bay May Be Back in Business
December 11, 2014
The Pirate Bay, which was closed down following a raid by Swedish police on Tuesday, appears to have found safe haven on a Costa Rican domain. The site, which gained notoriety for hosting pirated movies and music files, has been raided repeatedly by the Swedish police. Its founders have been arrested and convicted of copyright infringement, and two are currently behind bars.
Facebook Search Tool Finds Posts in a Haystack
December 09, 2014
Facebook has made it possible for users to perform keyword searches for individual posts on the social network. "With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you've been meaning to read, or photos from your friend's wedding last summer," said Tom Stocky, Facebook's vice president of search. Users still have the option of using search phrases as well.
Grooveshark Tries a Different Tack
December 09, 2014
Grooveshark on Monday confirmed that it will launch a new mobile app that allows subscribers to chat while listening to user-created music stations. Dubbed "Broadcasts," the new app will debut next month, offering an ad-free social radio listening experience on both Android and iOS. Stations will be "created by people rather than by algorithms," said spokesperson James Pearson.
Devuan: Unto Us a Fork Is Born
December 08, 2014
Well, it happened. We knew it was possible; the signs were all there -- but more than a few of us were still holding out hope. "Things will surely get better," we thought. Then the news came. The rumored Debian fork has now become real, and its name is "Devuan." Dev-what, you may say? "I hate the name; I love the idea," said Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza.
Google Sets Its Sights on the Under-12 Set
December 08, 2014
Google soon will begin targeting kids 12 and under with tailored versions of its products, likely including its search functionality, along with offerings such as YouTube and Chrome. The company is pushing to change make its products fun and safe for children, Pavni Diwanji, Google vice president of engineering, said last week. The new initiative reportedly will begin next year.
Gadget Ogling: Seeing E-Ink Everywhere, Breathing Easy and Brewing Beer
December 06, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, and set aside that last leftover-turkey sandwich for a short while as we explore the murky landscape of freshly announced gadgets. On the menu in our post-Thanksgiving edition are a pair of e-ink smart devices, wearables with a health focus, an intelligent home brewing kit, a kitschy kitchen product, and perhaps the most useless item we've included in this column to date.
Apple Doesn't Need No Stinking Streaming Media Stick!
December 05, 2014
In the first three quarters of 2014, the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV made stunning gains in sales activity versus the market-leading Roku and the No. 2 device from 2012 and 2013, the Apple TV. Roku snapped up 29 percent of sales, while Google Chromecast rose to claim 20 percent, edging past the Apple TV's 17 percent. The Amazon Fire TV, which launched in April, is already in fourth place.
Twitter Gives Harassed Users a Little Ammo
December 04, 2014
Twitter has announced a revamp of its system for reporting abuse on its service. The new changes make it easier to report account impersonation, harassment of others on the service, and threats of harm to oneself or others, said Shreyas Doshi, Twitter's director of product management. The changes allow subscribers to report abuse of others, and simplify flagging tweets and accounts for review.
Cybersecurity Threats 2015: More Espionage, More Apple Malware
December 03, 2014
Cyberspies will flourish and hackers will target Apple devices more often in 2015. Until now, Russia, China and the United States have dominated the cyberespionage scene, but their success will start to attract new players to the practice. "We can expect some of the developing economies ... to engage in these activities to protect their growth status," said Websense's Carl Leonard.
High Court Hears Arguments in Facebook Threat Case
December 02, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in "the Facebook threat case," which centers on a number of threats posted in the form of rap lyrics to a Facebook page created by Anthony Elonis. The targets of the threats were his estranged wife and an FBI agent. Elonis was convicted on four of five counts of making threatening statements in violation of federal law.
The Madness of the ITC, Part 2: Is Its Reach Exceeding Its Grasp?
December 02, 2014
The U.S. Trade International Trade Commission has broad investigative powers on matters of trade, gathering and analyzing trade data, and providing it to the White House and Congress to help formulate U.S. international trade policies. Its statutory authority is based on legislation that is 20 or more years old, and consequently does not address issues in the digital age.
Is It Time to Give BSD a Try?
December 01, 2014
It's not easy to stand by and watch a relationship in trouble. First there's the constant bickering, the growing sense of distance, the discontented grumbling. Next, there are the wandering eyes and intentions, and the seeking out of greener pastures. For many longtime Linux users, the past few months have resembled the first phase of breakdown as the Systemd Inferno has blazed higher and higher.
Hear, Hear: The Rise of Social Listening
November 24, 2014
Evian ran a promotion to give away bottled water during August in New York. People had only to tweet using the hashtag #evianBottleService to get free water delivered to them on the streets. To pull it off, Evian coordinated its social listening efforts and its marketing strategy -- a valuable combination for brands that want to make use of what they hear online.
Thoughts of Thanksgiving for All That Is FOSS
November 24, 2014
Well Thanksgiving week is upon us here in the land of stars and stripes, and in anticipation of all the social events soon to besiege us, more than a few Linux bloggers have been practicing keeping their favorite barstools warm down at the blogosphere's Punchy Penguin Saloon. How chilly would those stools get if we were all flitting here and there from this party to that? It would be truly unkind.
EFF Spearheads Safer Web Initiative
November 24, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced a nonprofit organization that will aim to secure the entire Web. Let's Encrypt, starting in summer 2015, will offer free server certificates to help websites transition from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS protocol. EFF is partnering with Akamai, Mozilla, Cisco, iDenTrust and University of Michigan researchers.
Amazon Free Video Could Hook Non-Prime Audience
November 24, 2014
Amazon reportedly plans to introduce a new ad-supported streaming video service early next year. The new service will be separate from Amazon's Prime membership offering, which already includes a video-streaming component. That Amazon already has a presence in the streaming video market is almost beside the point. The growth projections for this type of service are very high.
Firefox Sheds Google for Yahoo
November 21, 2014
Mozilla on Wednesday announced that Yahoo would replace Google as its global default search option, in a move that has set the tech media abuzz. Pointing out that Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004, Mozilla painted the move as seizing the opportunity to review its competitive strategy and explore its options when the agreement came up for renewal this year.
Russian Site Exposes Thousands of Private Videocam Streams
November 20, 2014
A Russian website has been posting live video streams from unprotected webcams in homes and businesses around the globe, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office warned on Thursday. The website has gained access to the webcams using the cameras' default login credentials, which are freely available online but often don't get changed by their owners during the set-up process.
Twitter Opens Entire Multibillion-Tweet Gold Mine to Searchers
November 20, 2014
Twitter this week began indexing every public tweet posted since it began operating in 2006. "Our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every tweet ever published," said Yi Zhuang, who led the project team. Use cases Zhuang cited for the new infrastructure include results for entire TV and sports seasons, conferences, industry discussions and long-lived hashtag conversations.
BitTorrent Sync Goes Pro
November 20, 2014
BitTorrent on Wednesday announced new plans for its Sync service, including a premium subscription option, along with other new paid products. Sync, which was released in beta in July, is billed as a cloud-free file-sharing solution. Currently in version 1.4, Sync soon will graduate to version 2.0, with both an improved free version and a Pro version offered by subscription for $39.99 per year.
WhatsApp Battens Down the Hatches
November 19, 2014
WhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption and enabled it by default in the latest version of its Android messaging application, partner Open Whisper Systems announced Tuesday. The new feature taps Open Whisper's open source TextSecure encryption protocol to ensure that only a conversation's participants can read the messages they exchange. WhatsApp itself won't be able to decrypt the messages.
Uber Exec Floats Digging Up Dirt on Journalists
November 19, 2014
Uber Senior Vice President of Business Emil Michael last week said, in comments he apparently thought were off the record, that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to investigate the personal lives of journalists who reported negatively on the company. He reportedly singled out one journalist, PandoDaily Editor in Chief Sarah Lacy.
Picture This: Instagram for CRM
November 18, 2014
With millions of active monthly users, Instagram is a prolific, lively social media community. Businesses want to get in on the Instagram game in order to boost marketing and enhance customer relations. It might not be immediately obvious to some businesses, however, just how they can get involved with Instagram and make it work for them. One way is to invite customers behind the scenes.

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