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Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA
July 14, 2014
Amazon is ramping up its drone delivery project and is hoping approval to conduct outdoor testing on its own property. The company has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices. Amazon last year revealed it was working on a project that would allow it to deliver small packages to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering via the unmanned aerial vehicles.
DoD and VA Chart Course for Electronic Health Records
July 14, 2014
In the wake of the problem-plagued rollout of Obamacare, similar government health IT efforts are being closely scrutinized within the administration and by Congress. That's why the DoD recently released the third version of a multibillion dollar proposal for a much-improved military health records information system. The objective is to modernize DoD's electronic health records system.
Augmented Reality Future: How to Train Your Dragons on Vacation
July 14, 2014
Microsoft just announced the release of the Dragons Adventure World Explorer. It is actually very cool and well-timed, because it should keep little tykes engaged and quiet during a long car trip. It also should get developers excited about creating more games that could turn the family vacation experience into a bloodbath of adventure for boys and a 4H-like experience for girls, but with dragons!
LG's Flexible OLED Screen Is Totally Tubular
July 14, 2014
The competition to offer transparent and flexible OLED screens heated up last week, with LG's unveiling of two 18-inch OLED displays. One is flexible and the other transparent. "Up to now, nobody has come up with an 18-inch flexible OLED display, although both LG and Samsung offer smartphones with flexible displays of less than six inches," said IHS research director Sweta Dash.
Amazon Risks Customer Loyalty in Fight Over Kids' In-App Purchases
July 11, 2014
Amazon's reputation for stellar customer service could become tarnished if its current flap with the FTC gets out of hand. The FTC is suing Amazon for permitting children to make millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases through its Appstore. Similar accusations have been circulating for years. Other companies, including Apple, have been targeted, said Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson.
Aereo Aims to Make Lemonade From Supreme Court's Lemons
July 11, 2014
After the Supreme Court appeared to deliver a death blow to Aereo, it has latched onto a part of the Court's decision in an effort to stay alive. The Court determined that Aereo flouted copyright rules by retransmitting programming without a license. Aereo let users watch broadcast TV over the Internet for a monthly fee. Its goal was to give consumers greater TV-viewing flexibility.
FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids
July 11, 2014
The FTC has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. The suit accuses Amazon of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges.
Nadella Spells Out Microsoft's Bold Ambitions
July 10, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday mapped out his vision for the company's future, emphasizing cloud and mobile computing, in a letter to all employees. "More recently, we have described ourselves as a 'devices and services' company. While the devices and services description was helpful in starting our transformation, we now need to hone in on our unique strategy," Nadella wrote.
Microwave Will Count the Calories in Food You Nuke
July 10, 2014
While the ever-expanding class of wearable fitness devices out there can tell users how many calories they've burned while undertaking any particular activity, realistic estimates of calories taken in have been few and far between. Enter a new microwave oven currently in the works at GE Global Research that will tell users just how much energy is included in the meal they're about to consume.
Report: NSA Stalked Prominent Muslim Americans
July 10, 2014
It's been known for years that the U.S. National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have targeted Muslim Americans. What hasn't been widely known is that their targets included lawyers and some who have served the United States at the highest levels. Five highly prominent Muslim Americans were listed on an NSA spreadsheet called "FISA recap."
Tim Cook's New Apple World Order
July 10, 2014
Apple is shaking out to become a very different sort of Apple, one suddenly more inclusive than ever before. The question for the rest of this year is if all this inclusion will really lead to innovation. For Tim Cook, this idea seems to have a whole new meaning for Apple -- the notion may be trickling into the very way that Apple is now approaching its entire business.
Tor Embroiled in $1M Revenge-Porn Lawsuit
July 09, 2014
Texas attorney Jason L. Van Dyke recently filed a lawsuit against nude-photo-sharing site Pink Meth and included the Tor Project among its defendants. Pink Meth is an "involuntary pornography" site, the suit charges, enabling users to post nude photos for the purposes of getting revenge on those pictured. It's accessible only to users who have downloaded Tor's anonymity-minded software.
Apple Fails to Get Little I Robot Off Siri's Back
July 09, 2014
The Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled against Apple in a case that pitted it against a Shanghai-based firm and the country's State Intellectual Property Office's Patent Review Committee. The court found that the intellectual property rights of Zhizhen Internet Technology, a company that holds a patent for a voice-controlled digital concierge called "Little I Robot," were valid.
LG G Watch Rides In on 1st Android Wear Wave
July 08, 2014
LG has launched its Android Wear-powered G Watch around the world. It can be ordered from Google Play and purchased at retailers in the United States, Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea. In 15 other countries -- including Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and New Zealand -- the device will be available only from retailers.
Europeans Want Right to Be Forgotten - but Not for the Other Guy
July 08, 2014
Marie Antoinette may not have been too far off the mark when she intoned the immortal line, "Let them eat cake." When it comes to the right to be forgotten, it seems Europeans want both to have their cake and eat it. They are now up in arms over Google's having deleted links to various news stories from search results in Europe, calling the action part of a backroom campaign to change the law.
Tiny Spectrometer Tells You Exactly What You're Eating
July 08, 2014
For all those who have wondered about the ingredients in their lunchtime burrito, Consumer Physics is gearing up to release a handheld device designed to provide the answer. Dubbed "SCiO," the device is a tiny spectrometer that can scan food, medicines and plants to determine their molecular composition. SCiO can deliver nutrient values and evaluate ripeness and spoilage levels.
Reading Rainbow Finds Pot of Gold
July 07, 2014
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign hit a significant milestone last week: It not only raised the $1 million it originally sought to create a Web version of the popular children's television show within the first 24 hours of the campaign, but also wrapped the 35-day effort with an additional $4.4 million for a grand total of $5,408,916 in donations. The project was organized by LeVar Burton.
The Social Media Fraud
July 07, 2014
I spent much of last week talking about Facebook's infamous study of nearly a million customers and the company's attempts to make half of those customers happier and the other half more depressed. Setting aside how insanely stupid it was for Facebook to do this is the fact that with social media, isn't social the real problem? Could the entire segment be a fraud?
Rumor: Microsoft's Smart Band Will Play Well With Others
July 03, 2014
Microsoft is said to be preparing the launch of a wearable fitness device that will be compatible with the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows Phone. While the device likely will display the time, along with notifications from the user's smartphone, the form factor is expected to be a wristband rather than a smartwatch. The band reportedly will function mainly as a fitness tracker.
Shame on Facebook
July 03, 2014
Do you remember those snotty little kids who didn't seem to understand the difference between right and wrong? You know, the little brats who thought the rules didn't apply to them. The kids who thought they could get away with whatever they wanted -- rules were for somebody else. Well, that seems to be a fitting description of Facebook, as it repeatedly breaks customer trust.

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