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ProPublica Launches News Site on Dark Web
January 12, 2016
ProPublica last week reportedly launched what's believed to be the first major news site on the dark Web. The site's purpose reportedly is to maximize the privacy of readers. The Tor hidden service goes beyond SSL in that visits to sites are hidden from eavesdroppers and ISPs. Anyone monitoring Tor nodes can track visitors who use a Tor browser to view ProPublica's regular site.
Legere Steps Back After Hurling F-Word at EFF
January 12, 2016
John Legere, T-Mobile's loquacious CEO, has apologized to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for what he described as a "color commentary" that drew sharp criticism. "I am a vocal, animated and sometimes foul mouthed CEO," Legere wrote in a blog post. "I don't filter myself and you know that no one at T-Mobile filters me either." Legere offered a mea culpa for "offending EFF and its supporters."
Facebook Messenger Dashes Past 800 Million User Mark
January 11, 2016
Facebook last week announced that its Messenger app had reached the 800 million monthly user milestone. Messenger lets users send text messages, stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, their location and money. It's a standalone app, so one doesn't have to be a Facebook member to use it, and it's cross-platform, running on smartphones, tablets and desktops.
YouTube Reveals 4K HDR and 360-Degree Video Support at CES
January 9, 2016
YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl on Thursday laid out the direction the service plans to take this year, including new partnerships with GoPro to support 360-degree video content and support for 4K HDR, or high dynamic range, video. So-called cord cutters are having an impact on streaming video services, including those of competitors such as Amazon and YouTube, he said at CES 2016.
The World According to Intel
January 8, 2016
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich earlier this week demonstrated a wide variety of new technologies and laid out the company's vision for where the industry is headed. There is a rapidly growing role for technology that is at once transformative, unprecedented and accessible," he told a CES audience. The 90-minute address offered a compelling look into Intel's view of the tech industry's future.
Samsung Places Fridge at Center of Smart Home
January 8, 2016
Samsung on Wednesday unveiled the Family Hub Refrigerator at CES, ongoing in Las Vegas through Saturday. The new refrigerator sports a 21.5-inch full HD LCD screen on the upper right outside door, which doubles as a communications center. The screen lets users post, share and update calendars, as well as pin digital photos, share images and leave notes.
New Smart Cam Can Distinguish Between Cats, Cat Burglars and Cars
January 6, 2016
Netatmo on Monday announced a smart security camera and floodlight combo at CES 2016. The Presence camera is designed for outdoor use and can identify objects such as people, animals and vehicles. The camera, which connects to a rectangular floodlight, can be customized to send alerts to a smartphone app or desktop browser based on what it sees and where it sees it.
Yahoo Rolls Up Screen
January 6, 2016
Yahoo has shut down its Yahoo Screen on-demand streaming video hub, according to news reports. The hub's offerings included a National Football League game played in London, licensed clips of shows such as "Saturday Night Live," and a number of original series. The company had to write off $42 million in losses stemming from running original series, Yahoo's third-quarter report states.
HTC Shows Off Vive Pre's Room-Sensing Camera
January 6, 2016
A room-sensing camera planted on the front of the Vive Pre was the reason the release of Valve and HTC's virtual reality headset was delayed, the companies revealed Tuesday at CES 2016. The Vive VR headset was supposed to beat Oculus VR and Sony to the punch, coming out in the last quarter of last year. A last-minute "breakthrough" required more work on the Vive headset, HTC CEO Cher Wang said last month.
The EPA, Social Media and Politics
January 6, 2016
Before the Internet, messages were spread by television and newspaper ads and highway billboards. Today that is done through social media. Virtually everyone knows about it, and many people use it. Does it make any sense that a U.S. government agency could violate any laws for using social media to carry out its mission? That doesn't make sense to me.
PCs May Not Be Ready for VR's Breakout Year
January 5, 2016
Will 2016 be a breakaway year for virtual reality technology? Exhibitors at CES 2016 this week seem to think so. More than three dozen of them will be flogging their VR wares at the show, more than double the number from last year. "2016 will be the year of VR," said Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner. "That's pretty clear with all the hardware that's going to be coming on the market."
Gadget Ogling: A Smart Home Hub, a Tiny Drone, and a Whispering Camera
January 4, 2016
LG's SmartThinq Hub seeks to bring together all of your connected appliances and smart sensors under one roof. As extras, it sprinkles on top music streaming, through radio stations or whatever you happen to play on your smartphone -- and reminders, through its 3.5-inch display. The hub can monitor and control robot vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, ovens and air conditioners, among other things.
Home Broadband Use Falls as Consumers Go Mobile
January 4, 2016
A recent Pew Research Center study found that adoption of traditional high-speed Internet in the U.S. has fallen to 67 percent, the lowest level since 2012. More consumers were using mobile phones, the study found. Thirteen percent of respondents said they were smartphone-only customers, compared with 8 percent in 2013. Fifteen percent said they have cut the cord on cable and satellite TV.
CES Insanity in 2016: The Cannabis Defense
January 4, 2016
CES is probably the best example that folks who work around tech are just a tad insane. While no big product has yet emerged, there will be a ton of crazy stuff to see. Yes, there will be robots, smartwatches, tablets, PCs, smart appliances, exoskeletons, body monitors, head thumpers, drones, self-driving cars, augmented reality, virtual reality, holographics, 3D printers, and a ton of junk.
Facebook Takes On Yelp, Angie's List
January 2, 2016
Facebook recently launched a service for members that provides recommendations and ratings on shops and service providers, a move that puts it in direct competition with Yelp. The tool provides star ratings on local service providers, including doctors, veterinarians and event planners. Users can leave references that detail their experiences with merchants or service providers.
Security Execs Sweat Insider Threats
December 31, 2015
Insider threats are becoming increasingly worrisome to corporate security executives. That is one of the findings in a survey of C-level businesspeople Nuix released last week. "The insider threat seems to be a bigger concern this year than it was in previous years," said Nuix's Keith Lowry. "People are recognizing that it is a significant weakness that has yet to be fully addressed."
China's Internet Tightrope Walk
December 30, 2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently told an international delegation of cybersecurity and technology experts that governments must be allowed to exercise sovereign rights and decision making over Internet use within their own countries. Speaking at the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China, the president effectively called for a revised order in Internet governance.
Zuckerberg Defends Downsized Internet for Developing World
December 29, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday defended his company's downsized version of the Internet, called "Free Basics," which is offered in developing nations around the world. "In every society, there are certain basic services that are so important for people's wellbeing that we expect everyone to be able to access them freely," he said, citing public libraries, hospitals and schools as examples.
Smart Homes Meet Connected Cars: X Marks the Spot
December 29, 2015
Several factors have contributed to the sudden expansion of connected car services available or coming to the market, notably the expansion of mobile broadband networks, high penetration of smartphones, and automakers' re-evaluation of connected services as a competitive advantage. Crossover between connected car and smart home ecosystems offers a unique opportunity for the ecosystem players.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Socks, a High-Powered Hoverboard, and a Vigilant Vacuum
December 29, 2015
Finally, a pair of socks I would not be ever-so-slightly disappointed to find among my gifts on Christmas morning. Netflix has released some designs for socks that can stop streaming the show or movie you're streaming if you should nod off. The socks detect when you've stopped moving for a long period and hit the pause button. If you're still awake, you can wiggle your big toe to halt the action.
Looking Ahead to 2016
December 28, 2015
Next week is CES, and I am so looking forward to coming home from that show. It used to be a lot of fun, but it covers such a massive amount of space that just getting around takes up much of the time. Given that most folks do prebriefings if they are smart, and that most of the really cool stuff is behind closed doors and not on the show floor, every year I question the intelligence of going.
All Security Pros Want for Christmas: Smarter Users, Decoy Networks
December 24, 2015
People like to see gifts from their wish lists under the Christmas tree, and security pros are no exception. Here are things some cyberwarriors would like old St. Nick to deliver to them. "It's probably never going to happen, but it would be fantastic to get smarter users who are less susceptible to social engineering," said Proofpoint's Ryan Kalember.
Forecasting 2016
December 23, 2015
My favorite Boston FM radio DJ was Charles Laquidara, who would end his show with the words, "If the creek don't rise, if the good Lord's willing, if there ain't no meltdown, we'll do it all over again tomorrow right here on The Biiiiig Mattress!" It impressed me that even one day out, he'd caveat his prediction of being there tomorrow. Unlike my hero, I will attempt to forecast the year ahead.
CRM Predictions: Spotting the Critical Connections
December 22, 2015
At this time of the year, there's a clamoring among the business publishing class for predictions. That is partly because prediction stories are considered easy to write, and once they're done the staff can go celebrate the holidays while their publication continues to deliver content. However, having written a lot of prediction stories in the past, I can tell you that they are not easy to write.
2015: Looking Back at an Amazing Year
December 21, 2015
I'm kind of surprised it took us so long to figure out that an iPod-like product with a Siri-like voice interface would be a massive hit in the home. As I write this, the numbers suggest the breakout product this holiday is the Amazon Echo. It once again showcases that if you create something that is plug-and-play easy and does at least one thing folks want to do well, it will be a hit.
Google, Facebook and Twitter Agree to Pull Hate Speech in Germany
December 18, 2015
Germany on Tuesday announced that Google's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have agreed to its demands to remove hate speech appearing on their networks within 24 hours after a removal request has been made. The measures include best practice mechanisms that FSM, a nonprofit association dedicated to the protection of minors, and its members, including Google, have developed.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
UK Police Pinch Suspect in VTech Hack
December 16, 2015
UK police have arrested a 21-year-old man as part of their investigation into last month's hack on VTech's systems. The man was arrested in Bracknell, 30 miles west of London, on suspicion of unauthorized access to a computer to facilitate the commission of an offense and suspicion of causing a computer to perform functions to secure or enable unauthorized access to a program or data, police said.
Star Citizen's Second Alpha Hurtles Past $100M Landmark
December 16, 2015
Racking in more than 200 times its original asking price, the crowdfunded space simulator Star Citizen recently reached a landmark 100 million in backer dollars. At the same time, developer Cloud Imperium released version 2.0 of the game's Alpha build. It's billed as the biggest Star Citizen update yet. The update puts to use the Star Citizen's multi-crew component.
Disgruntled Yahoo Investors Suggest Different Paths Forward
December 16, 2015
Two Yahoo investors, acting independently, have publicly called for radical changes or a potential sale of the firm. Both Canyon Capital Advisors and SpringOwl Asset Management apparently were unappeased by last week's announcement that Yahoo would spin off its core Internet business. Canyon Capital Advisors on Friday sent a letter urging Yahoo to find a buyer for its core Internet businesses.
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