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Salesforce's Lightning Announcement
July 29, 2015
Spreadsheets suffered a body blow on Tuesday, when Salesforce announced new platform functionality. Soon all spreadsheets will be good for is financial analysis. This sounds funny, because the spreadsheet for several decades has been the unofficial IT prototyping tool. Actually, it was the end-users' prototyping tool -- the default thing they used to capture data.
Super-Scary Android Flaw Found
July 28, 2015
Zimperium on Monday revealed a stunning discovery by researcher Joshua Drake -- a flaw in Android's Stagefright media playback engine that could expose millions of mobile device users to attack without their having done anything. Stagefright, which processes several popular media formats, is implemented in native code -- C++ -- which is more prone to memory corruption than some other languages.
Apple Watch to Decorate Best Buy Shelves
July 27, 2015
After tightly controlling the sales experience for its smartwatch since its April debut, Apple appears ready to unleash it to the mass market. Best Buy on Monday said it would begin selling the Apple wearable in 100 of its stores on Aug. 7, as well as on BestBuy.com. As the holiday season rolls in, it expects to expand that number to 200. Sixteen models will be available at the Best Buy outlets.
Apple Leaves Nest Thermostat Out in the Cold
July 24, 2015
Apple reportedly has pulled the Nest smart thermostat from both its online and brick-and-mortar stores, possibly paving the way for its own line of smart home appliances. The thermostat disappeared from Apple's product offerings earlier this month. Apple's stores now are selling the Ecobee 3, a thermostat that works with Apple's HomeKit, an Internet of Things platform that's part of iOS.
Mobile Device Hijacking Costs Advertisers $1B a Year
July 24, 2015
A type of fraud spreading through the mobile universe could cost advertisers more than $1 billion globally this year, according to a July 2015 study released by Forensiq. The fraud, called "mobile device hijacking," uses installed apps to rapidly load ads that no one sees -- but the fraudsters collect money for the ads as if they had been viewed.
Commodore's Ghost Lives in New Machine
July 22, 2015
Yet another Android smartphone has hit the market -- but what's surprising is that it comes from Commodore. The Commodore PET smartphone is from Commodore Business Machines, a UK-based firm that has acquired the brand and trademark. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, and has a 5.5-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 display. Two preinstalled emulators let owners play games written for old-school Commodore PCs.
PayPal Flies Solo on Nasdaq
July 21, 2015
PayPal on Monday returned to the Nasdaq as an independent company, no longer tethered to eBay. PayPal debuted at a market value 1.4 times its former parent -- $46.6 billion -- while eBay's capitalization shrunk to $34 billion. The companies agreed to split in September due to market pressures and some nudging by corporate raider turned shareholder value advocate Carl Icahn.
Swipes, Taps and Cursor Movements Can Foil Cyberthieves
July 16, 2015
Swipes, taps, cursor movements and other ways of interacting with electronic devices can be used to protect online merchants from Net fraudsters. Many people are familiar with biometric authenticators like irises, fingerprints and voices, but it turns out that how we behave with our machines, including typing speed and the use of keyboard shortcuts, can authenticate our identities, too.
Google May Goose Mobile Device Impulse Buys
July 15, 2015
Google on Wednesday announced that it is giving tablet and smartphone users more purchase options in an effort to respond to shoppers' "micro moments." Mobile devices influenced about 28 percent of in-store sales in the U.S. last year, noted Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product management for Google Shopping. However, "it's way too hard to buy things on your phone," he added.
Google Photos Backup Keeps Collecting Until You Make It Stop
July 15, 2015
Uninstalling Google's Photos app doesn't turn off backup sync, meaning photos taken with Android devices could be saved to the company's cloud storage, even if the user doesn't intend to store them there, Google acknowledged on Tuesday. The issue came to light last week, when a BizJournals editor reported finding hundreds of family photos he had deleted from his phone stored in Google Photos.
Apple Scarfs Up Nearly All the Smartphone Profits
July 14, 2015
While Android smartphones have captured nearly 80 percent of the worldwide market, Apple has an overwhelming lead where it counts most: profits. Ninety-two percent of worldwide profits from smartphones go to Apple, according to Cannacord Genuity. Samsung is a distant second with 15 percent. Since Apple started peddling smartphones eight years ago, its profit picture has brightened continuously.
Facebook Gives News Feed a Tune-Up
July 10, 2015
Facebook on Thursday slammed the hood, wiped its hands, and introduced the latest set of upgrades to its News Feed engine. The all-new 2015 Facebook News Feed gives users more control over the content they see when they cruise the world's largest social network. The new tools allow users to set their top friends, and content from those accounts will be given preference over others.
Sprint Gets Up Close and Personal With Direct 2 You
July 9, 2015
Sprint's Direct 2 You program seems to be another home run in its recovery-and-expansion effort. It follows the success of Sprint's Cut Your Bill in Half plan over the last few months. Direct 2 You started out in Kansas City, Miami and Chicago. It is now in 28 cities and expanding rapidly. Sprint just announced its expansion into New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.
Gunpoder Malware Masquerades as Lesser Evil
July 9, 2015
Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 team on Tuesday published a report on Gunpoder, a family of Android malware that can evade detection scans by pretending to be adware. Cong Zheng and Zhi Xu authored the report. The team discovered the new Android malware last November. Its new report aims to spur cooperation within the security community to mount defenses against the threat.
Microsoft Cuts 7,800 as It Rethinks 'Mobile First' Strategy
July 8, 2015
CEO Satya Nadella has announced that Microsoft will reduce its workforce by 7,800 as it refines its mobile message and strategy. The company will write down roughly $7.6 billion associated with assets tied to the acquisition of Nokia's devices and services business, Nadella revealed. The restructuring of its own mobile handset division will cost somewhere between $750 million and $850 million.
Apple Watch Sales Sink
July 8, 2015
After a glorious first week of sales following its introduction in April, sales have slid rapidly for the Apple Watch, according to Slice Intelligence. Sales have plummeted to fewer than 20,000 units a day, down from an average of 200,000 a day during its launch week, when it sold 1.5 million units, reported Slice, which measures online purchasing activity through an app used by consumers.
New Android Malware Sprouting Like Weeds
July 1, 2015
Information stored on an Android smartphone or tablet is vulnerable to almost 4,900 new malware files each day, according to a report G Data SecurityLabs released Wednesday. Cybercriminals' interest in the Android operating system has grown, the firm's Q1 2015 Mobile Malware Report revealed. The number of new malware samples in the first quarter increased 6.4 percent.
Microsoft Is Looking More Like the House Nadella Built
June 30, 2015
Some aspects of CEO Satya Nadella's vision for Microsoft are becoming more clear. For one thing, the company's interest in advertising is seriously on the wane. Microsoft reportedly has handed off most of its digital advertising sales business to AOL. Microsoft will retain control of its search advertising sales, however, and Bing will replace Google as the engine powering AOL's consumer searches.
The Encryption Software Scuffle
June 29, 2015
In the face of encryption that could block brute force attempts for years, law enforcement agencies at every level have been calling for keys that allow investigators to crack open smartphones and court cases alike. Some of the world's leading tech companies and privacy advocates have called for the White House to stand against any proposal to weaken the security software on consumer products.
IBM, Box Team Up to Conquer the Cloud
June 26, 2015
IBM and Box have entered a global partnership to combine the two companies' best-in-class technologies and resources to transform work in the cloud. The two will offer customers IBM analytics and social solutions, IBM security technologies, the IBM cloud, and Box's cloud content collaboration platform. "IBM provides Box with a global go-to market footprint," said IDC's Chris Chute.
Red Hat, Samsung Ramp Up Enterprise Mobility
June 24, 2015
Red Hat and Samsung Business Services on Tuesday announced a strategic alliance to deliver the next generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise. The alliance, announced at the Red Hat Summit 2015, combines the strengths of each company -- Samsung's mobile device portfolio and Red Hat's open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies.
Rumors Tell the Apple Watch Story
June 22, 2015
Apple hasn't been saying much, as usual -- but insiders and analysts are fitting together pieces of the Apple Watch puzzle through sales estimates, revelations about the vast gulf separating production costs from final prices, and expected features of the next version. CEO Tim Cook recently said the company was off to an "exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch."
AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp Flunk Privacy
June 22, 2015
An Electronic Frontier Foundation survey published last week gave AT&T, Verizon and WhatsApp the thumbs down when it comes to protecting user privacy. Google and Twitter also got a black eye. The five were among 24 companies the EFF evaluated on criteria worked out over the past four years. WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, also took criticism in the EFF's fifth annual report, "Who Has Your Back?"
Uber Loses Crucial California Legal Battle
June 18, 2015
Uber on Tuesday filed an appeal of a California Labor Commission ruling that is widely viewed as a threat to the company's business model. The ruling resulted from a claim filed by a San Francisco driver against Uber last year. The commission found that the plaintiff was an employee of Uber rather than an independent contractor, as the company had maintained.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.