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Parrot Uncages New Drone
May 13, 2014
Parrot has added a new model to its line of airborne drones -- the Bebop. The lightweight Bebop includes some snappy features, such as built-in image stabilization, a 14-megapixel camera with a fish-eye lens, and support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Although a price hasn't been announced, the drone is expected to hit a sweet spot between $500 and $1,000.
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.
GSA Follows Corporate IT Procurement Playbook
May 13, 2014
A major federal agency has launched a program designed to acquire information technology and other essential goods and services for the government the same way that major corporations handle procurement. The General Services Administration, which acquires a wide range of products and services on behalf of federal agencies, has initiated a category management acquisition process.
On-Premises Banks Stick It to Walmart Customers
May 12, 2014
Walmart customers who use the banking services provided inside the chain's stores are among the highest payers of fees -- especially overdraft fees -- in the U.S., an analysis of federal filings concluded. The five banks with the most Walmart branches reportedly ranked among the top 10 U.S. banks in fee income as a percentage of deposits last year, compared to other U.S. banks.
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.
Tech Industry Leans on FCC in Net Neutrality Clash
May 08, 2014
More than 100 companies in the tech industry have come together to battle a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission that they say could irreparably harm the open Internet. Firms including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and Yahoo signed an open letter to the FCC advocating the benefits of an open Internet.
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.
White House Report: Climate Change Threat Is Dire
May 06, 2014
The White House has demanded urgent action on climate change amid the release of a report that spells out the looming threats to America and the global population. More than 300 experts worked for several years to create the latest National Climate Assessment. The report highlights tangible climate change seen by members of various industries in recent years.
Mobile CRM May Widen the Big Data/Privacy Divide
May 06, 2014
The White House last week added to the ongoing national discussion about online privacy and tracking with the release of a review counselor John Podesta conducted on Big Data and privacy issues. Among other things, privacy advocates hope the findings will spotlight the role of mobile in the gathering of consumer data by companies. Mobile technologies have a particularly voracious appetite.
British Supermarket Chain to Launch Its Own Smartphone
May 06, 2014
Tesco, a British-born multinational grocery store chain, plans to launch its own smartphone later this year. The device will reportedly run on Android software and have specs comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S5. Of course, the Galaxy doesn't come equipped with preinstalled Tesco services; the new phone will. Tesco has been electronically progressive, at least as far as supermarkets are concerned.
Feds Weigh In on Cybersharing Antitrust Issues
May 01, 2014
The use and scope of information technology has grown dramatically since 2000 -- and along with that growth have come ever greater cybersecurity threats to businesses, government agencies and consumers. The need to counter actual threats, as well as to prevent potential cybersecurity problems, calls for sharing information among vulnerable parties.
White House Opens Heart About Vulnerabilities
April 30, 2014
Smarting from speculation that the U.S. intelligence community hoarded knowledge about the Heartbleed bug that's placed millions of servers and devices that access the Internet at risk, the White House Tuesday gave the public some insight into how it decides to release information about computer vulnerabilities. Disclosing them is usually in the national interest, it said.
FCC Denies Desertion of Net Neutrality
April 25, 2014
Reports that the FCC is abandoning its support of Net neutrality are incorrect, insisted FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. The reports appeared just prior to the release by the FCC of a notice that it is proposing some new Open Internet rules. The old rules were rejected by a federal court in January and tossed back to the FCC for a rewrite. There has been "a great deal of misinformation," Wheeler wrote.
Federal Initiative Aims to Spur Software Development
April 24, 2014
The allure of Big Data stems from the ability to use advanced technology to manage and manipulate huge amounts of information. Not only that, Big Data offers the opportunity for unlocking information not previously available, and even not previously knowable. However, the software required to underpin Big Data and related IT advances may not be up to the task.
Founder of Russian Social Media Says He Got the Boot
April 23, 2014
Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia's most popular social network site, claims he has been ousted by allies of President Vladimir Putin -- who went ahead and took over the site while they were at it. Durov, who ran the mega-popular VKontakte, had reportedly run afoul of the Russian government for refusing to heed requests to censor posts on the site.
Transcendence and Analytics: What If the End of Mankind as We Know It Were a Good Thing?
April 21, 2014
I saw the movie Transcendence last week, and it was an impressive telling of what might happen were we to achieve singularity. Given this is likely where AI research is taking us and that analytics is a major component to getting there, I not only recommend the movie as entertainment but also as a means to wrapping your head around what we must correct before we take that next big step.
IT Providers Stew Over Big Data Privacy Regulation
April 18, 2014
With the emergence of the Big Data era, technology developers see major benefits in the ability to manage huge volumes of information. However, with an onslaught of data breaches such as the recent hacking of the Target retail chain, consumers and their representatives in government are increasingly nervous about bigger threats to privacy. The White House is conducting a review of the issue.
A Dream of America's Forefathers
April 18, 2014
Last week marked the 224th anniversary of the U.S. patent system, an institution designed and brought forth to promote progress in the fledgling nation. Despite its value for more than two centuries, that system is under attack. Until the late 18th Century, innovative colonists in the Americas relied on British-based patent laws to obtain colonial patents.
Smartphone Kill Switch Gets Breath of Life
April 16, 2014
CTIA and major mobile manufacturers, providers and operating system makers have entered a voluntary agreement to include antitheft measures in smartphones. The security and safety of mobile users is the top priority for the industry, according to CTIA, and the agreement is intended to protect consumers from smartphone theft while providing companies' with the ability to innovate.
FBI May Pick Out Your Face in a Crowd
April 16, 2014
The FBI is planning to have a fully operational facial recognition system in place by this summer and may be well on its way to reaching that goal. The system will be able to query a database of photos to identify individuals based on their appearance even if they do not have a criminal record, reported Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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