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QuizUp Branches Out Into Social Territory
May 21, 2015
Popular trivia game QuizUp on Thursday issued an update that gives players access to a broader array of social networking tools. Users' exchanges had been spilling out of the trivia app and into forums, so developer Plain Vanilla Games decided it was time to build out the game's social features. QuizUp now aims to connect users through their shared interests.
Popcorn Time Offers Smooth-as-Butter Streaming
May 20, 2015
Popcorn Time, known as the "Netflix for Pirates," has introduced a browser-based service that lets users play streaming videos without having to download anything. The videos play on the company's servers. However, the browser-based service does not include a built-in virtual private network, a feature of the downloadable Popcorn Time app. Most of the videos stream in HD.
The Future According to Qualcomm
May 18, 2015
I was at the Qualcomm Internet of Things event in San Francisco last week during what was a major IoT event in the city. What is kind of amazing is the larger event was just a small part of the applications show that used to go on at the same time. This year it is twice the size of that older show. Companies are flocking to this IoT concept like ducks to water.
Reddit Flaps Gums at Harassers
May 15, 2015
Reddit has announced a new policy prohibiting personal attacks. "We are updating how we apply existing policies to address new types of harassment on Reddit," said company spokesperson Heather Wilson. However, Reddit did not indicate what action it would take against harassers. Instead, it promised a thorough investigation by the company and a response based on the nature of the harassment.
Redesigning Products and Services for the Internet of Things
May 15, 2015
Nearly everyone agrees the Internet of Things will create unprecedented business opportunities that will dramatically change the way almost every industry operates. There is also universal agreement that the IoT will force organizations to rethink the fundamental nature of their products and services. One company that has become a leader in the rapidly evolving IoT market is PTC.
Facebook's Instant Articles Raise Troubling Questions
May 13, 2015
Facebook on Tuesday introduced Instant Articles, a feature that lets publishers place their stories directly on its site. Nine major media outlets have signed on so far. The content is optimized for mobile devices, and Instant Articles currently is available only on iOS. Publishers get 100 percent of the revenue from ads they place with their content.
Verizon Pursues OTT Dream With $4.4B AOL Buy
May 12, 2015
Verizon will make a tender offer of $4.4 billion for AOL, the companies announced Tuesday. AOL will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon upon completion of the merger agreement this summer. The deal drives Verizon's LTE wireless video and over-the-top video strategies, and provides support and connectivity for the company's Internet of Things platforms.
Google Makes It Easier for Online Hunters to Gather Food
May 12, 2015
Google last week added an option that lets users place a food order directly from search results. Six providers are participating in the service: Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com. More are expected to join later this year. This could provide Google with an entry into the growing food-delivery market. Consumers increasingly are searching online for food options.
Users Choose to Wear Blinders, Facebook Suggests
May 8, 2015
Facebook, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, conducted a study on the diversity of news and opinions posted by members of the network, in an effort to determine whether its manipulation of News Feed algorithms could be responsible for creating an echo chamber of viewpoints. Users themselves are to blame if all they're exposed to is preaching to the choir, the study found.
Splatoon: Nintendo Hits You With Its Best Shot
May 7, 2015
Nintendo has invited players to paint the town red -- and green and blue and a palette of other colors -- in Global Testfire events over the weekend for Splatoon, a new game launching May 29 exclusively on the Wii U. The Testfire events will provide three hour-long windows to try out Splatoon and provide Nintendo with the server stress-testing the game will need for a successful launch.
Twitter's Timid Anti-Trolling Tweaks
May 7, 2015
Twitter recently amended its rules in yet another attempt to crack down on the abuses perpetuated by online trolls, but the changes may do little to protect victims. Its latest move was an extension of its ban on threats of violence against others or the promotion of violence against others. The company decided to let its support team lock down abusive accounts for specific periods of time.
Facebook Responds to Critics by Unlocking Internet.org
May 4, 2015
Net neutrality and Facebook's Internet.org initiative can and must coexist, insists CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook on Monday announced that it will expand Internet.org to ensure that it doesn't conflict with the principles of a free and open Internet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to criticisms of Internet.org and outlined plans to make the free service even more open.
Comcast Blithely Juggles Its Options
May 4, 2015
Although its year-long effort to merge with TWC was derailed last month, Comcast gave investors good news about its first-quarter performance. It reported a 10 percent earnings hike for its first quarter, driven by growth in its high-speed Internet business. Total revenue increased by 2.6 percent to $17.9 billion for the quarter, despite $99 million in costs related to its failed merger attempt.
Gadget Ogling: Wine in a Dash, Connected Bicycles, and a Wearable for Behinds
May 2, 2015
I'll admit I'm not the planet's most refined wine connoisseur, but I do enjoy a glass or two of red with my dinner. At the minute, the few bottles I have are vacuuming up space around my kitchen, so I could use a wall-mounted wine rack -- but what's the use of having a rack with no bottles once they're finished? Poppy Reserve could solve the problem of a barren wine rack.
Microsoft Offers Devs an Edge
April 30, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday made its new Edge browser available to participants in the Windows Insider Program. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, operating systems group, made the announcement at the company's Build developers' conference, being held in San Francisco through Friday. Edge is available through the Windows 10 Preview, accessible to Windows Insiders.
Twitter Takes It on the Chin
April 30, 2015
Twitter's stock took a hit when investors got an early look at first quarter earnings, leaked just ahead of closing time on Tuesday, ahead of the company's Wednesday announcement. Shares plummeted about 18 percent from Tuesday's opening price of $51.84. The slide continued on Wednesday, with the loss of a couple more percentage points, and the share price hovered near that level through Thursday.
IoT: Why Security Pros Need to Prepare Now
April 29, 2015
Have you ever heard of the Cullinan diamond? If you haven't, it was the largest diamond ever discovered: a 3106 carat diamond found in 1905 in South Africa. What's interesting about the Cullinan diamond isn't so much the discovery of the stone itself but what happened afterward: specifically, the cutting of the diamond. The Cullinan diamond was split into a number of smaller pieces.
YouTube Marks 10 Years of Nondisruptive Revolution
April 23, 2015
YouTube on Thursday celebrated its first full decade in business. It was 10 years ago to the day that cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the site's first video. It was a humble beginning: a 19-second clip of elephants, with Karim declaring that the pachyderms have "really, really long trunks." In fairness, it may have been in keeping with other notable firsts in technology.
Google Unleashes Mobilegeddon on Unprepared Websites
April 21, 2015
Google on Tuesday initiated changes to its search algorithm to address increased use of mobile devices, and there is about a week left before the full impact of its new metric is felt in full. Due to its ability to seriously hurt the revenues of small and mid-sized sites, the change is being referred to as "Mobilegeddon." About 60 percent of all Web traffic arrives on the wheels of mobile devices.
China's Great Cannon Could Point Anywhere When Next Fuse Is Lit
April 16, 2015
China, which censors the Internet with its Great Firewall aka the "Golden Shield," has a new censorship tool that is causing alarm. It's known as the "Great Cannon." The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab identified the tool in a report released last week. The Great Cannon was first used in March, to launch a large-scale DDoS attack on GitHub and GreatFire.org, Citizen Lab said.
Guitar Hero Strikes Back
April 15, 2015
Rock Band 4's race to the top of the gaming charts this fall will be rivaled by a new release from Activision. Returning with a music video mode and first-person perspective, Guitar Hero Live offers a unique take on the music game genre. It "lets people rock real crowds with real reactions," said Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Our goal was literally to give people stagefright."
Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade
April 15, 2015
Several wireless and cable industry groups on Tuesday filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's new open Internet rules. The lawsuits seek to nullify the new rules on the grounds that the FCC exceeded its authority in making them -- most notably by redefining broadband service so it can be regulated like a utility. The trade groups oppose the way the FCC seeks to enforce Net neutrality.
Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
April 10, 2015
Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.
LinkedIn Links Up With Lynda
April 9, 2015
LinkedIn on Thursday announced its intent to complete the acquisition of online business school Lynda.com by the close of 2015's second quarter. The deal, about 52 percent cash and 48 percent stock, is valued at around $1.5 billion. The terms are subject to adjustments, however, and there was still plenty of time left to make them when the agreement was announced.

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Are you comfortable using a mobile device to make purchases?
Yes - It's not any riskier than using a computer or paying in-person with a credit card.
Somewhat - I do it, but I also worry about ID theft and data security.
No - I've heard too many horror stories. The convenience is not worth the risk.