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Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
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.
Google Clarifies Gmail Snooping in Updated ToS
April 16, 2014
Google this week updated its terms of service with new language that more clearly spells out how it scans and analyzes user content, such as emails, to match it with targeted ads. "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it says.
Total Eclipse Paints the Moon Red
April 15, 2014
A total lunar eclipse in the early hours of Tuesday gave viewers a rare glimpse of what's sometimes called a "blood moon," due to the reddish hue it takes on as a result of dust in the atmosphere. Beginning at about 1:55 AM EDT on April 15, the eclipse lasted roughly three and a half hours -- peaking at 3:45 a.m. EDT. -- and was visible in North America, South America and Australia.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Drone Wars: Google Snatches Titan From Facebook's Grasp
April 15, 2014
Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone maker that could help its efforts to improve Internet access worldwide. Facebook reportedly was interested in buying the company itself. Titan makes high altitude drones that Google could use in a variety of ways as it works to increase Internet connectivity. Titan's technology has plenty of room for growth, Titan said.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.
Printing From the Palm of Your Hand
April 15, 2014
While the tech world has gone mobile, there's one key tool that hasn't changed in years: the printer. Most printers are still big, bulky and boring. They do a job, and they stay put. Right where you left them -- at home or in the office. If a new Kickstarter project gets the funding it needs, mobile workers will be able to print most anywhere -- even coffee shops. The tool? A robot printer.
Why Is It So Hard to Think Different?
April 14, 2014
I've been having an interesting week -- first, with AMD, which has returned to profitability and stopped chasing Intel's butt to do some rather interesting different things, like merging x86 and ARM technologies. Then, with IBM, which also realized that chasing Intel wasn't doing it any good. It chose an even more unusual path for its processors, making them "open."
Amazon to Investors: The Sky's the Limit
April 11, 2014
Amazon has released its annual letter to shareholders, revealing a smattering of tidbits about what's happening in the company now and what's in store for the future. The running theme throughout the letter is innovation. The entire company innovates with the customer in mind, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote, touching on its ethos of failing early while inventing and iterating to perfect a project.
CAELinux Is the Ideal Distro for Designing Scientists
April 10, 2014
CAELinux is a perfect example of the power of open source to tailor the Linux OS to users' specialized needs. This computer-assisted engineering distro clearly is not for the vast majority of Linux users, but it certainly has all the features you would expect in any mature Linux OS -- and then some. The extra ingredients make CAELinux a unique Linux distro for engineers and scientists.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Car-Tippers Rage Against the Machine
April 10, 2014
While Smart cars may be good for the environment and financially beneficial to owners, those benefits are wiped out when a gang of vandals tips one over. A group of as many as eight people dressed in black tipped over four of the cars in a San Francisco residential area this week. One of the cars was upended onto its rear, one was on its roof, and the others were on their sides.
Comcast Argues TWC Merger Would Level Playing Field
April 09, 2014
Comcast on Wednesday pulled out all the stops in a "public interest" statement on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, one day before it has to appear before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill for questioning about the deal. Hot buttons such as Net neutrality, consumer choice, better and lower-cost services for business, and competition were touched on.
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Google Sees Glass in Businesses' Future
April 09, 2014
Google's smart eyeware, Glass, largely has been considered a diversion for gadget fans, but the company just announced a new program to encourage its use in the workplace. "Today, there are thousands of consumers out there enjoying Glass in ways that are both practical and inspirational," said a Google spokesperson. "We've also seen many in the enterprise world ... begin experimenting with Glass."
Agency: 'Cuban Twitter' Meant to Help, Not Incite
April 09, 2014
Rajiv Shah, the administrator of AID, defended a Twitter-esque social media site created by the agency, saying it was an attempt to nurture communication on the island -- not, as has been claimed, a way to collect data and incite a revolt. Appearing before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees, Shah said the "programs are part of our mission to promote open communications."
Stanford Controller Could Get Video Gamers' Blood Racing
April 09, 2014
Stanford researchers have created a new game controller that can measure a player's emotions. Eventually, developers may be able to use this information to adjust video gameplay, depending on a player's level of engagement. The prototype consists of an Xbox 360 controller with the back panel removed. Researchers replaced it with a 3-D printed plastic module that is packed with sensors.
Microsoft's Nokia Deal Clears China Hurdle
April 09, 2014
Microsoft's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business is moving closer to the finish line, having just won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce. It is a key milestone for the transaction, which sailed through the U.S. and European approval processes with little difficulty or delay. The deal is expected to close this month.
Microsoft Adds Sci-Fi Series to Xbox Originals
April 08, 2014
Microsoft added to its list of original programming for its Xbox gaming system Monday with the announcement of a new science fiction series called Humans. Based on a hit TV series in Sweden, Humans is a cooperative effort of Xbox Entertainment Studios and UK broadcaster Channel 4. It is scheduled to air next year exclusively on the Xbox platform and Channel 4.

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