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Bear Witness: Street View Heads North for Polar Bears
February 27, 2014
Google's Street View team has captured images of polar bears in northern Canada, a successful end to its first-ever wildlife-specific quest. Google Street View has long been in the business of capturing things other than streets, including, for example, the world's tallest mountains and Antarctica. These photo-mapping quests aren't always without incident.
Qplay Puts a Personal Spin on Internet TV
February 26, 2014
TiVo cofounders Mike Ramsay and James Barton on Tuesday launched Qplay, a brand-new company that aims to bring a new level of personalization to Internet TV. Comprised of an iPad app, a TV adapter and a dedicated cloud service, Qplay is designed to let users curate Internet video from across the Web and create "Qs," the company's name for personalized and shareable streams of content.
Investors Drop $350M on Dropbox
February 25, 2014
Dropbox reportedly has secured $350 million in a new round of funding to further its growth. The funding round generated at least $325 million but that figure could swell to as much as $450 million, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It appears that $350 million already has been raised. The financing gives Dropbox a $10 billion valuation.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
FTC Explores Scope of Federal IoT Regulation
February 25, 2014
The explosion of the Internet of Things, or IoT, promises great opportunities for improving quality of life -- but also for creating both seen and unforeseen dangers. The IoT generally refers to a network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense, communicate and interact with their internal states or their external environment, according to Gartner.
News Flash from Redmond: FOSS Causes Dissatisfaction!
February 24, 2014
Here in the Linux community, we're all familiar with the many benefits that come with using open source software -- customizability, interoperability, and freedom from vendor lock-in, to name just a few examples. Well, Linux Girl has shocking news to report. It turns out there's also a BIG PROBLEM associated with open source software that we've all apparently overlooked: dissatisfaction!
Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
February 24, 2014
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts. González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for 80-some killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.
How Facebook Got Snookered in WhatsApp Deal
February 24, 2014
It's not often I see news that surprises me, but Facebook paying nearly $20 billion for an instant messaging app had me scratching my head. People have been paying too much for properties for some time, but this is crazy money for a class of product that stopped being trendy nearly a decade ago. I've come up with three reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive, as to how Facebook was tricked.
Microsoft Beckons New Consumers to Old Online Services
February 21, 2014
What's in a name? Microsoft is hoping more traffic to two of its online properties. The company has renamed its cloud storage service because of legal entanglements and the website for free versions of its Office productivity apps because of consumer confusion. The name changes, which took effect this week, weren't accompanied by very much in the way of feature changes.
French Teen in Hot Water Over Drone Footage
February 21, 2014
A French teen faces charges of "endangering the lives of others" over his use of a drone, which he sent skyward to capture impressive (and seemingly harmless) footage of the city Nancy. Eighteen-year-old Nans Thomas affixed an Internet-bought drone with a GoPro camera and then sent the contraption skyward. The ensuing video has been viewed more than 270,000 times already on YouTube.
Google May Let 34 More Cities Munch on Fiber
February 20, 2014
Google has revealed plans to expand its Google Fiber Internet service to as many as 34 new cities. Google Fiber offers connection speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps -- around 100 times faster than the average U.S. speeds of 9.8 Mb/sec, according to Akamai -- by providing service through fiber-optic cables instead of copper wiring. Google's service also delivers high-definition television.
Facebook Wins WhatsApp Gold
February 20, 2014
Facebook on Wednesday announced the acquisition of WhatsApp in a $19 billion deal geared toward increasing its global connectivity. The company paid $4 billion in cash, $12 billion worth of Facebook shares and an additional $3 billion in restricted stock to acquire WhatsApp. Facebook was drawn to the company's ability not only to connect mobile users worldwide, but also to sustain rapid growth.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.
BlackBerry CEO Miffed With T-Mobile
February 19, 2014
John Chen, BlackBerry's new chief executive, lashed out at T-Mobile after it sent an email to BlackBerry users imploring them to ditch their current devices and switch to an iPhone. BlackBerry was not notified about T-Mobile's email blast beforehand, causing Chen to become "outraged" over what he dubbed a "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion."
LinkedIn Beats the Bushes for Quality Content
February 19, 2014
LinkedIn is making a fresh push into the original content market by opening up its publishing platform. The company until now allowed only selected "influencers" to use the service's long-form publishing tools to craft posts offering professional advice, insights and inspiration to other users. Such influencers have tended to be well-known figures, including President Barack Obama.
IBM, AT&T Hook Up on Internet of Things
February 19, 2014
IBM and AT&T on Tuesday announced they were forming a global alliance to develop solutions for the Internet of Things. They will be combining their analytic platforms, cloud and security technologies -- all with privacy in mind -- to gain insights from machine-to-machine data collected by a variety of industries. Initially, they will focus on solutions for municipalities and utilities.
Candy Crush Maker Wants Wall St. to Pour a Little Sugar on It
February 18, 2014
King Digital Entertainment, creator of the blockbuster social game Candy Crush Saga, is planning to go public. The company filed its initial public offering paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company's revenue soared by more than tenfold in 2013, rising to $1.88 billion from $164 million the previous year, the filing reveals.
Old Discs Get a Chance to Spin Again
February 18, 2014
One of the UK's go-to spots for selling entertainment products online, Entertainment Magpie is now setting its sights on the U.S. with the launch of Decluttr.com. In this podcast, we chat with CEO Steve Oliver about how the digital revolution affects a business model predicated on physical entertainment media.
China Calls Kerry's Internet Comments 'Naďve'
February 18, 2014
Maybe they aren't fighting words, but they sure aren't friendly. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks about Chinese Internet freedom were, shall we say, a bit base. Kerry had a half-hour-plus chat with bloggers Saturday in Beijing, during which time he expressed support for more online freedom in China.
Recognizing and Defending Against Creeping Violence
February 17, 2014
I spoke last week with a woman who built a house in Belize. Apparently it was burglarized several times. After she moved away, her husband mysteriously died there -- he had stayed to protect the house before they sold it. Then I got a visit from a friend who'd retired to Brazil but badly wants to come home. He recently had his gold chain ripped from his neck while he was on a private beach.

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