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The Neverending Systemd Saga
May 19, 2014
Here in the Linux blogosphere, controversies come and go like the wind, leaving a trail of broken chalk and empty whiskey bottles in their wake. Most pass quietly into the annals of time of their own accord, however, so when a luminary such as Eric Steven Raymond weighs in with an opinion, it's a safe bet there's something big going on. That's what happened in March on the topic of Systemd.
'I Am Google': Pride Comes Before a Fall
May 19, 2014
Last week, I observed repercussions from one of the most arrogant moves I've ever seen an executive make. A small uproar occurred when a Google product strategist learned there were fewer people than he'd expected at an event he'd volunteered to speak at. As he stormed out, he uttered the immortal words, "I Am Google," to the event organizer -- whom he apparently thought was a booth babe.
Microsoft Circles Back to Halo
May 17, 2014
Microsoft is returning to one of its biggest franchises with the announcement of a new Halo game, set to debut next year for the Xbox One. Accompanying the release of the title is a new TV show based on the series. The release of Microsoft's latest console, the Xbox One, provided the opportunity to rethink how to move the franchise forward while highlighting the console's assets.
FCC OKs Controversial Net Rules, Screaming Period Begins
May 15, 2014
The FCC has approved proposed new rules governing neutrality on the Internet. Following a public comment period and review of those comments by the commission, the agency will finalize the rules, possibly as soon as the end of this year. "Today marks the starting line for a new conversation, not the finish line," said Nuala O'Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.
Brave New IoT World
May 14, 2014
Wearable technology and other devices, objects and systems connected to the Internet will be fully pervasive in our society by 2025, according to a new report. The Internet of Things references the many objects in our everyday lives that share data over the Internet. While the trend already is taking effect, it will have a much more widespread impact on our lives in a decade's time.
Microsoft Dis-Kinects Xbox One
May 14, 2014
With Sony's PlayStation 4 increasing its commanding lead over the Xbox One, Microsoft made a play Tuesday to goose sales of its computer game console. The company announced it would start selling Xbox One without its Kinect controller -- which allows a $100 price cut -- and it removed the requirement that Xbox users subscribe to Live Gold to access streaming services they already subscribe to.
No, Bot! UN Ponders Regulations for Killer Robots
May 14, 2014
In a move that could complicate the creation of any more Terminator movies, United Nations diplomats on Tuesday discussed international laws to govern, or simply ban, the use of killer robots. This was the first time that a UN meeting was devoted entirely to the topic, which makes sense given that the robots in question don't yet exist. That said, the UN wants to be proactive.
Precision Cooking Fires Up the Crowd
May 14, 2014
A new crowdsourced Kickstarter project has blasted out of the gate and racked up more than $1,000,000 in funding -- its goal was a modest $100,000 -- with 34 days to go. The project? The Anova Precision Cooker. At first glance, the Anova Precision Cooker looks like a massive electronic thermometer with a plug-in cord. It's used for the sous-vide style of cooking.
EU Court Hands Google a Missing Links Quandary
May 13, 2014
The European Court of Justice, which is the highest court for matters of European Law, has handed down a preliminary ruling that indicates Google may have to remove links to consumers' names on request -- if appropriate. The case was referred to the ECJ by Spain's Audiencia Nacional, or National High Court. The ECJ's ruling lays down the guidelines for the Audiencia Nacional in hearing the case.
AT&T May Be Suiting Up to Battle Comcast
May 13, 2014
AT&T has been negotiating to buy DirecTV for close to $50 billion, based on reports that surfaced Monday. The deal, which has not been confirmed by the companies, could close within a few weeks. The current option on the table, according to anonymous sources, would be largely a stock trade but it would include some cash, with AT&T offering in the low- to mid-$90s per share for DirecTV.
Twitter Introduces an 'I Can't Hear You' Button
May 13, 2014
Twitter has launched a new feature that gives people the power to silence fellow tweeters without having to unfollow them. The feature is designed to give users more control over what pops up in their daily feeds. If someone mutes a follower, the muted user's tweets and retweets won't show up in the muter's feed, and notifications about that user's activity will not appear.
Psychologist: Search Results Could Sway Elections
May 13, 2014
Search engines could have a profound influence on voters, according to psychologist Robert Epstein, whose recent study chronicles the impact of what he dubbed the "search engine manipulation effect." Epstein has not produced any evidence that search engines intentionally manipulate elections. Even so, he claims the phenomenon is legit. This is not a new topic for Epstein.
FCC Chair Changes Tune on Net Neutrality
May 12, 2014
The chairman of the FCC reportedly is changing a proposal for regulating Internet traffic in response to a wave of dissension against the idea. Chairman Tom Wheeler had proposed a new "Net neutrality" plan that would allow ISPs to negotiate with companies that use the Internet to provide services to end customers in order to grant preferential treatment of their data in exchange for fees.
Linux Pros' Top Command Line Secrets
May 12, 2014
It was a relatively quiet week here in the Linux blogosphere, giving residents a long-overdue opportunity to enjoy a few Tequila Tux cocktails and take stock of all the FOSS-related happenings that have taken place over the past few weeks. Among the highlights were the awarding of the IEEE Computer Society's 2014 Computer Pioneer Award to none other than Linus Torvalds.
Samsung Invests $2B in Biopharmaceuticals
May 12, 2014
Samsung is investing at least $2 billion in... biopharmaceuticals? With this foray into the drug industry, Samsung hopes to become a major player in biotechnology, which is expected to be a booming industry in coming years. A key component of this play is so-called biosimilars -- cheap versions of brand-name biotechnology drugs that no longer are protected by patents.
Netflix Newbies Hit With Steeper Price
May 09, 2014
Netflix is hiking subscription fees for new users of its streaming video service effective immediately, while current members will have a grace period before they must start paying the increased rates. Subscribers in the U.S. and Canada will fork over an extra dollar a month, with the fee jumping to $8.99. Existing subscribers will pay their current fees for two years.
Breaking Down the Crazy Apple-Buying-Beats Riff
May 09, 2014
The hottest -- and possibly craziest -- tech rumor of the week is, hands down, that Apple is in negotiations to acquire Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. Based on a single report, the story has been fanned into a raging inferno faster than a wildfire on a hot August day. Unfortunately, the only cited source for the rumor is "people familiar with the deal."
Building an Internet of Things Ecosystem
May 09, 2014
One of the geographic regions asserting itself as an epicenter of technology innovation focused on the rapidly evolving Internet of Things is the Boston area. To bring greater attention to the widening array of area companies pursuing new business opportunities in the IoT market, the region recently hosted a series of IoT events, anchored by Axeda's annual Connexion conference.
Nintendo Won't Include Gay Characters in Sim Game
May 08, 2014
Nintendo won't include same-sex romantic activities in English editions of an upcoming life simulator game. The company has faced pressure, including a fan-fueled social media campaign, to let users have gay relationships in Tomodachi Life, a game whose characters are modeled after real people. The company never meant for the game to be a "social commentary," Nintendo of America said.
Windows Phone's Secret Weapon: Customization
May 08, 2014
Despite coming from one of the world's most well-known tech companies, Microsoft, Windows Phone has a freakishly odd smartphone branding problem. From what I see out there, most consumers barely know what a Windows Phone is or how it works or why they might want one. Business users tend to be more aware of it, but they often end up choosing an Android smartphone or even an iPhone instead.

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