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Microsoft Widens Skype World
November 14, 2014
Skype on Friday announced Skype for Web, a new version of its VoIP service that can be used in a browser rather than through the dedicated application. To use Skype for Web, users simply sign in on Skype.com to start instant messaging directly from their browser. Voice or video calls will require a small plug-in. The service works with Internet Explorer, Chrome on Windows, Firefox and Safari.
Ubisoft Under Siege for Glitch-Filled Assassin's Creed
November 14, 2014
Ubisoft on Friday released a second patch for Assassin's Creed: Unity, in an effort to quell the uproar that has arisen over problems with the game. The first patch was released earlier this week. Ubisoft has been the target of harsh criticism from gamers and game reviewers alike for releasing Assassin's Creed: Unity with numerous bugs and glitches.
Facebook Lubes PR Gears to Dampen Privacy Worries
November 14, 2014
Facebook on Thursday announced Privacy Basics, a set of interactive guides to answer the most commonly questions about how users can control their information on its site. It also aired proposed updates to its terms, data policy and cookies policy; improvements to ad targeting; and expansion of user control over ads. "This is mostly a messaging exercise," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Nvidia Flips Grid's Game-Streaming Switch
November 13, 2014
Nvidia on Thursday officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service. Due to become available on Nov. 18 in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. "We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service," said Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke.
Americans Flip-Flop on Personal Data Privacy
November 13, 2014
Despite the publicity about Edward Snowden's controversial leaks, only 43 percent of 607 English-speaking adults surveyed in January had heard a lot about government surveillance efforts, and another 44 percent had heard a little, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. However, 80 percent of the respondents registered concern about government surveillance of communications.
FCC Chair Asserts Independence in Net Neutrality Fracas
November 13, 2014
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has responded to the White House's proposal for Net neutrality rules by reasserting his agency's independence in a meeting with executives of Google, Yahoo and other Internet companies following President Obama's Monday call to action. The president urged the FCC to ensure Net neutrality by interpreting Title II of the Telecommunications Act to govern ISPs.
Firefox Develops a Case of Selective Amnesia
November 11, 2014
Roughly 10 years to the day after the release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla on Monday announced an updated version of its open source browser complete with a new Forget button aimed at protecting users' privacy. Forget asks you only one question, said Firefox Vice President Johnathan Nightingale. "How much do you want to forget?" Once you supply a time frame, "it takes care of the rest."
YOLOTD: Could 2015 Be Linux's Big Year?
November 10, 2014
It's no secret that the Linux community has been in a state of upheaval these last few months, thanks to a little piece of technology known as "Systemd." It not only has been divisive, but also has been distracting us from more important matters. Need an example? Here you go: When was the last time you participated in a rousing revival of the good old "Year of Linux on the Desktop" debate?
Are Tiny Internet Satellites Twinkling in Musk's Eyes?
November 10, 2014
Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, soon may be venturing into new territory: the Internet satellite sector. Musk reportedly is working with ex-Googler Greg Wyler, founder of WorldVu Satellites, on a $1 billion project to develop a fleet of 700 relatively small and inexpensive models that can be used to provide Internet access around the globe.
Obama Bangs Drum for Net Neutrality
November 10, 2014
President Obama on Monday leaped into the controversy surrounding Net neutrality, calling on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to ensure and protect it. "I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting Net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online," he said.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Xbox One
November 10, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced that it had begun rolling out its Xbox One November Systems Update, which will be its final major update for the console for 2014. The improvements will deliver new ways for owners to watch TV, personalize the game system, and interact with the Xbox Live gaming community, as well as provide new integration with Xbox One Store and Microsoft's SmartGlass platform.
The Law Scores a Victory Against Dark Net Denizens
November 07, 2014
Europol on Friday announced that agents from ICE, the FBI and Eurojust have taken down more than 400 cybercrime services accessible via the Tor browser. They include the dark market Silk Road 2.0. Its operator, Blake Benthall, was arrested, along with six Britons. Europol coordinated the effort. "Almost all crime now has an international nexus," noted ICE Special Agent Gary Hartwig.
Amazon's Echo Plays Hard to Get
November 07, 2014
Amazon on Thursday announced Echo, a speaker with a built-in voice-activated personal digital assistant. Think of a cylindrical Bose SoundLink Mini married to Siri, Cortana or Google Voice -- or heck, living in sin with all three. Echo can conduct Web searches, add items to your to-do list, let you play streaming music, and give you news and weather reports, among other things.
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.
The Trouble With Facebook's Tor Link
November 05, 2014
Facebook recently announced that it was providing access directly over the Tor network. Its purpose was to let users access Facebook without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud. Facebook is providing an SSL certificate which cites its onion address. It will add onion address support for its mobile site later. The Tor link will work only in Tor-enabled browsers.
Monster Tiptoes Onto Twitter
November 05, 2014
Monster Worldwide last week announced that it was rolling out a beta of a social recruitment ad platform, starting this Thursday. Monster Social Ads uses Twitter's Ads API to serve tailored job listings to Twitter users, based on career attributes such as occupation or industry type. A number of U.S. companies have signed on for the beta, including eBay, T-Mobile and UPS.
Dropbox, Microsoft Gang Up on Google
November 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox -- only eight days after announcing unlimited cloud storage for Office 365 subscribers in a move widely seen as a frontal attack on Dropbox and Google. The companies will integrate their services forphones, tablets and the Internet, so that users can access and collaborate on Office files either from Dropbox or Microsoft Office.
iPad Pro Rumor Comes Up for Air
November 04, 2014
Rumors of a larger-screen iPad 'Pro' have been floating around since early this year. Most have suggested variations on a supposed 12.9-inch screen size. As soon as they rise, though, they're buried by another news wave. The latest to surface is a report in a Japanese tech blog. The upcoming iPad Pro reportedly will have a 12.2-inch screen and not the more widely rumored 12.9-inch screen.
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.
YouTube Warms to Subscription Model
October 30, 2014
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki this week said that her team was in the early stages of exploring a new subscription business model. Wojcicki didn't offer any specific details, but she did suggest that one option might include an ad-free service. That would be a big change from YouTube's current advertising-only approach. At some point, people won't want to see ads, Wojcicki said.
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.
Amazon Sticks It to Google Chromecast
October 27, 2014
Amazon on Monday introduced the Fire TV Stick, a new streaming-media device that can connect to an HDTV's HDMI port and deliver video content from Amazon Prime Instant Video, as well as Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, YouTube, Spotify, Vevo, Pandora and A&E. It also can be used to play games. New and existing Amazon Prime customers can pre-order the Fire TV Stick for $19 through Tuesday.

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