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Google May Start Grooming Little Googlers
August 19, 2014
Google may soon allow kids under 13 to have their own personal accounts on services such as YouTube and Gmail. Under the new system, parents would be able to set up accounts for their children, control their use of those accounts, and regulate the information collected about them. "You could say that Google is just recognizing reality," said the Local Search Association's Greg Sterling.
Hotel's Robotic Butler Is Not Quite 'Rosie'
August 18, 2014
Aloft Hotels this week announced the launch of a new, robotic "butler" at the company's Cupertino, Calif., location. Dubbed "A.L.O.," the new botlr, or robotic butler, is designed to help the hotel's human staff by delivering amenities to guest rooms. A.L.O. comes professionally "dressed" in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl-collared uniform, complete with name tag.
Why Tesla Is the Best Car Company in the World
August 18, 2014
As an analyst in a market of experts, I'm known as a generalist, but if I have an area of particular focus, it is how to make customers love you. In the car space, there are two emerging vendors on the world stage: India's Tata, which now owns brands like Jaguar and Land Rover; and Tesla, the dominant provider of electric cars. Both companies are trying to make a dent in the world.
To Your Health: Intel Inside Your Headphones
August 16, 2014
Intel on Friday announced it is working with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's SMS Audio to develop earbuds that will monitor users' heart rates. The SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Headphones will have an earhook and will be powered by the user's smartphone. They will be sweat- and water-resistant. The earbuds will be available from SMS Audio in Q4; pricing has not yet been announced.
The New Golden Age of TV
August 15, 2014
Over the top, or OTT, video-streaming service Netflix has been doing something right. Netflix snagged 15 prime-time Emmy nominations for its original series, including best drama for House of Cards and best comedy for Orange Is the New Black. The company launched in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service and successfully transitioned into becoming the leading online video service.
Apple Flexes Muscles in Health Field
August 15, 2014
Apple has begun ramping up for an incursion into the healthcare market, two months after announcing its HealthKit app at WWDC. The app will collate all a user's fitness and health data. Apple reportedly has discussed HealthKit with healthcare providers Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, along with electronic health records provider Allscripts.
Apple Lays Down Law on Toxic Chemical Use
August 14, 2014
Apple on Thursday reiterated its commitment to safe working conditions in its supply chain, and announced stricter rules for the use of benzene and n-hexane, two toxic chemicals. It also published its Regulated Substances Specification, pointing out that it sets occupational exposure limits for the two toxic chemicals that follow standards bodies' recommendations.
Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector at Risk for Spy Program Costs
August 14, 2014
A recent U.S. Senate proposal to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the NSA could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. However, major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data still will be vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.
The Pain of an Apple Enthusiast: When Will I Be Wowed?
August 14, 2014
Apple is firing on all cylinders. The company is excelling in so many ways, it's hard to keep track of it all. It's building an amazing new "spaceship" headquarters. It's building solar farms to power its data centers. It's cleaning up its supply chain, both environmentally and through better labor practices. Apple produces the best-selling MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Microsoft Gets the Jitters Out of Time-Lapse Video
August 13, 2014
Microsoft has some good news for action-cam fans who like to capture their outdoor adventures in video. It's found a way to bring time-lapse photography to first-person video footage. Hyperlapse can shrink hours of video into minutes without the jitter, shake and artifacts previously associated with the time-lapse process. That can be very useful to first-person camcorder enthusiasts.
Siri Creators Have a Much Smarter Bun in the Oven
August 13, 2014
The inventors of Apple's Siri personal assistant have launched an independent effort that could make their first offspring look kind of dumb. Billed as "the global brain," Viv aims to provide an intelligent interface to everything. "They are trying to abstract Siri's [natural-language processing] interface so you could apply it into other applications and domains," said Tempo AI CEO Raj Singh.
The Connected Car, Part 2: Wired For Wireless - It's All Business
August 12, 2014
The connected car is a battlefield among technology purveyors fighting to get their hardware plugged into the vehicle's network bus. Open source technology is becoming a key contender. OEMs are sorting through a garage full of options from versions of embedded Linux to the Automotive Grade Linux distro and the Android car platform. The connected car concept is picking up speed.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
The Cavalry Rides Into Auto Industry With Security Proposal
August 12, 2014
A grassroots group calling itself "I Am The Cavalry" has published an open letter to the automotive industry offering its services in ensuring security and safety. "Modern vehicles are computers on wheels and are increasingly connected and controlled by software and embedded devices," the letter reads. New technology "introduces new classes of accidents and adversaries," the group pointed out.
Stepping Up the Search for ET
August 11, 2014
Atmospheric pollution may not be among mankind's proudest achievements, but it's an incontrovertible sign that we are here. Could something similar help us find civilizations on other planets? That's the premise behind one of several recently announced new approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One involves detecting pollutants like Earth's in the atmospheres of other worlds.
Desk.com Support: Video Is the New Manual
August 11, 2014
Salesforce.com has debuted a new feature for its Salesforce Desk.com Support Center: video support for knowledge-based self-service offerings. Desk.com Video Support Center allows users to embed video content from any of the major video platforms in their online customer service offerings. There is also analytics support that allows companies to assess which videos are working well.
Intel's Broadwell: What Happens When the MacBook Air Is Thinner Than the iPad Air?
August 11, 2014
Intel on Monday introduced its Broadwell processor platform to the world, and it is an impressive piece of technology. Stepping outside of its normal two-step process of first releasing the processor and then updating the platform, Intel is doing both this cycle, and the end result is a massive step forward in terms of size and power efficiency Intel is stepping solidly into ARM turf.
Feds Struggle to Corral Data
August 11, 2014
U.S. government agencies are struggling to manage the huge amount of data they generate or process, despite the goals of a program designed to operate thousands of data centers more efficiently. The idea behind the FDCCI was to save space, energy and IT costs by consolidating woefully underutilized electronic data storage centers into fewer sites and servers.
I Think, Therefore IBM
August 08, 2014
IBM has announced the latest version of its neurosynaptic processor -- that is, a processor whose workings are inspired by the human brain. It has 5.4 billion transistors and an on-chip network of 4,096 neurosynaptic cores. IBM claims it is the first neurosynaptic chip to achieve 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses, and 46 billion synaptic operations per second.
Beacons Hit the Retail Spotlight
August 07, 2014
It was just six months ago that we saw what beacon technology could do on a wide scale. For Super Bowl XLVIII, the National Football League installed wireless transmitters in Times Square and at MetLife Stadium to send simple yet specific messages to smartphones: "bathrooms to the right," "snacks to the left," and so on. The deployment was considered a bold test for the nascent technology.
The iPad Keyboard: When Will Apple Get Real?
August 07, 2014
I keep wondering when Apple is going to hear the alarm and respond to the real iPad keyboard wakeup call. Apple can point to touch-based apps all it wants -- even going so far as to partner with IBM to help the company deliver better enterprise mobile apps -- but the fact remains: Some people just want to type on their damn iPad, and Apple's touchscreen solutions suck.
Sales Forecast Dynamics
August 06, 2014
Take a look at almost any sales software on the market, and you'll find the vendor's claim that the product accelerates the sales process. It's a given. For years, we've been trying to achieve this acceleration, and we've been succeeding. The only problem with this approach is that it can't go on forever. It's a form of expecting infinite growth based on limited resources.

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