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Rocket the Vote! NASA Asks People to Vote on New Space Threads
March 26, 2014
NASA is asking people to vote on their favorite design for the outer shell of the new Z-2 spacesuit. While the Z-2 models may descend from their Apollo 13-style ancestors, there are some decidedly 21st Century twists. The "Biomimicry" design, for example, has a reptilian flare; "Trends in Society" has a more everyday look -- at least, as far as spacesuits go.
Bioprinting, Part 1: The Promise and the Pitfalls
March 26, 2014
It's long been the dream of humans to be able to regenerate body parts. Scientists have been researching this possibility for years, but the subject is complex, and they are just beginning to get to a glimmer of understanding as to what's required. "There are different layers of complexity in developing tissue-engineered products," said Charlie Whelan, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan.
Disney Snaps Up Maker to Court Millennials
March 26, 2014
Disney this week announced it would acquire Maker Studios, a provider of short-form videos, for at least $500 million -- a number that could go up if Maker meets performance targets. Maker's videos account for more than 5.5 billion monthly views on YouTube -- it has 380 million subscribers. Among its more than 55,000 YouTube channels are the popular Epic Rap Battles of History.
Obama, Legislators Tackle Bulk Surveillance Issue
March 25, 2014
The political frenzy over the NSAy's collection of Americans' bulk telephone metadata is escalating, with both the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee announcing plans to introduce legislation to regulate the practice. The White House's proposal reportedly would require phone companies to store the data and provide it under a court order.
China Seeks Answers About NSA/Huawei Report
March 25, 2014
China's government is asking the U.S. to explain itself -- and to knock it off with all the cyberespionage -- following reports that the National Security Agency has had its way with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The NSA reportedly penetrated Huawei servers to monitor communications among company executives, and to gain access to the dealings of Huawei customers.
LG Sheds Light on Internet of Things
March 25, 2014
LG Electronics on Monday unveiled a light bulb designed to illuminate consumers lives in a more intelligent way. The Smart Lamp can be controlled by an iOS or Android device over Bluetooth or WiFi. The 10W LED bulb is 80 percent more energy-efficient than other incandescent bulbs, LG claimed, and will last for up to 10 years when used for around five hours per day.
Rumor vs. Reality in Silicon Valley, Part 1
March 25, 2014
Like most small, inbred communities, Silicon Valley encourages and thrives on gossip, even when it's of little substance. In popular-speak, Valley gossip has a "low signal to noise ratio," but the rumor mill is vibrantly alive despite that shortcoming -- partly due to venture capitalists, whose efforts parallel the day-to-day business of technology.
Apple, Comcast Wade Into Streaming Content Talks
March 24, 2014
Apple and Comcast reportedly are discussing a streaming-TV service that will go through an Apple set-top box. Apple apparently wants the service to be treated as a managed service, meaning it will run on cabling separate from that used for public Internet access. "I seriously doubt Comcast will agree to a deal, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Microsoft Does Some Scroogling to Catch a Thief
March 24, 2014
Microsoft, which has been mocking Google's searching of Gmail subscribers' emails with its "Scroogled" campaign, is fielding criticism for having itself searched the email of a Hotmail user. The search was conducted after Microsoft found that an employee, Alex Kibkalo, who worked for it in Lebanon, had stolen proprietary code and shared it with the Hotmail user, who is a blogger.
Netflix, Comcast Spar Over Net Neutrality
March 24, 2014
Although they previously came to an arrangement regarding stronger broadband service delivery, Netflix and Comcast last week sparred over the issue of Net neutrality in a public forum. Net neutrality -- or "open Internet" -- is the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally by Internet service providers and governments. ISPs should not give preferential treatment.
Haunted Empire - Biased Author or Biased Readers?
March 24, 2014
What really surprises me about the book Haunted Empire, which predicts the decline of Apple, isn't that Apple fans don't like it. That's a given -- Apple fans only want positive books and stories. It is the level of effort that has gone into killing it, and how much that apparently has accelerated sales. There is an old saying: The only thing better than bad publicity is no publicity.
Chinese State Media Prompts Amazon to Close Store
March 21, 2014
China's state media seems to have the ear of U.S. tech companies. Amazon's China unit closed down a third-party store after state media criticized Amazon for selling fake cosmetics. Amazon's China unit took the accusations seriously, it said, promising to "strengthen the process of scrutiny." The fake-product accusations were floated on China Central Television.
Apple Will Light the Wearable Tech Fire
March 21, 2014
I'm usually not a prediction sort of guy because it's cosmically silly -- we're tiny little humans on a tiny little rock spinning in a very large universe. Yet here I am, looking at 2014 and the latest batch of smartwatch efforts from Samsung, Google, Motorola and LG. Here's what I see: None of these manufacturers has created anything that will resurrect the watch for whole generations of people.
Flappy Bird May Soar Again
March 20, 2014
The mobile game Flappy Bird seemed dead and buried, but a tweet from its creator suggests it may yet rise from the ashes -- perhaps not quite like the phoenix. In response to a Twitter user asking whether the game would return to the App Store, Dong Nguyen responded, "Yes. But not soon." Indie developer Nguyen released the game last May, having created it in just a few evenings.
Office for iPad May Be Waiting in Wings
March 20, 2014
Microsoft's tip of a news event next week triggered an avalanche of prophecy that the long-awaited version of Office for the iPad was about to be released. Microsoft is billing the event in San Francisco on March 27 as a "briefing and news focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing." Microsoft officially withheld further details, but an assortment of unnamed sources did not.
Sony Dreams Up Project Morpheus Virtual Reality Experience
March 20, 2014
Sony this week debuted Project Morpheus, its virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 console. The project is in active development with a view to a future commercial launch. A software development kit also is under development. Morpheus features a head-mounted unit with a visor-like display, which operates in tandem with the PlayStation Camera.
Earth Narrowly Missed Solar Blasts in 2012
March 20, 2014
Enormous solar blasts, which possessed the potential to wreak havoc on electrical grids and satellites, barely missed Earth in 2012. The near-misses, revealed by researchers Wednesday, would have been akin to the 1859 Carrington Event, the largest solar storm ever recorded. While there were no satellites to cripple back then, the storm knocked out telegraph systems across the U.S.
Android Stomps Into Wearables Field
March 19, 2014
Google on Wednesday released a developer preview for Android Wear, a day after announcing the project, which Android head honcho Sunder Pichai teased at SXSW earlier this month. The preview, which includes a software development kit, an Android emulator and a preview support library, is for development and testing only -- not for production apps.
Apple May Throw the Healthbook at You
March 19, 2014
Apple reportedly is working on a health and fitness tracking app called "Healthbook," which could be a one-stop shop for iOS users interested in using mobile tech to better keep track of their progress toward health goals. The app reportedly would help users monitor blood pressure, hydration, weight, respiratory rate, nutrition, physical activity, heart rate, and other health information.
Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
March 18, 2014
Google and Viacom have settled a long-running copyright suit, after a federal judge twice threw out the case. "This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together," the two said in a brief joint statement. Terms were not disclosed, but reportedly, no money changed hands.

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