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YouTube Foists Deceptive Ads on Kids, Says Complaint
April 7, 2015
Child and consumer advocacy groups on Monday filed a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google over unfair and deceptive advertising practices in connection with its YouTube Kids app. In essence, the app includes ads in a way that takes advantage of children's developmental vulnerabilities, the complaint alleges.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Apple TV Won't Go Out on 4K Limb
April 6, 2015
The fourth generation of the Apple TV set-top box won't support 4K video when it arrives later this year, according to a Monday report on Buzzfeed News, which cited unnamed sources in a position to know. This is a bit of a surprise, given that the third-generation Apple TV incorporated the higher-resolution 1080p video standard and included HDMI-video outputs.
EC Greases Its Google Antitrust Gears
April 2, 2015
The European Commission reportedly is preparing to file a Statement of Objections detailing specific antitrust charges against Google. The EC is collecting testimony from companies that have filed private complaints about Google's business practices to gather more firepower in moving forward in antitrust matters, reports indicate. The EC is rumored to be considering a penalty of $6 billion.
Google Goes Crazy for Chromebooks
April 1, 2015
Google has announced two new budget-busting Chromebook computers, a tablet/notebook convertible with a full swivel screen, and a Chrome computer-on-a-stick. The Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook both are available for preorder for $149. The Asus Chromebook Flip will hit the market this spring with a $249 price tag. The Asus Chromebit will be available this summer for less than $100.
India's Tussle With Internet Freedom
April 1, 2015
The Supreme Court of India last week struck down a law that permitted arrests for posting "offensive" content online. It ruled that Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional, and said it had no hesitation in striking it down. The law was challenged after two women were arrested in 2012 for posting critical comments on Facebook.
Halo Fans Hunt for Truth, Microsoft Hunts for Hearts
March 31, 2015
Xbox and 343 Industries have released two live-action trailers for Halo 5: Guardians to encourage both Xbox One owners and holdouts to "hunt the truth." The trailers aired during The Walking Dead's season finale. In one, the story catches up with Master Chief scorning an injured and supine Spartan Locke with an unsettling benediction. In the other, their roles are reversed.
Proposed Amendments to US Cybersecurity Laws Under Scrutiny
March 31, 2015
The White House in January proposed updates to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that have stirred controversy within the cybersecurity industry. "If the proposed legislation were to be enacted, it would certainly have a chilling effect on cybersecurity research," said Chris Doggett, managing director at Kaspersky Lab North America.
The Futility of the Strong Password Solution
March 31, 2015
After experiencing a data breach, most companies take a number of measures to strengthen security, including advising users to change their passwords and to make them strong. Although it stopped short of confirming anything, Amazon-owned Twitch last week notified users that its network might have been hacked and that some user account information might have been exposed.
Compliance Mindset Can Lead to Epic Security Fail
March 30, 2015
The recent data breach at Premera Blue Cross -- in which the personal information of some 11 million customers was compromised -- raises questions about how effective government regulators are at ensuring that healthcare providers adequately protect their patients' data. There have been abundant warnings that compliance with government regulations alone would not be adequate.
YouTube Fiddles With 4K
March 30, 2015
YouTube on Friday announced that it would begin supporting Ultra High Definition 4K video content. YouTube officially unveiled the news via TestTube, an incubator for new features concocted by its so-called mad scientists. YouTube developers have posted six experimental videos that can be streamed at up to 2160p -- essentially a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160.
Retiring in a Tropical Paradise: Risks May Outweigh Rewards
March 30, 2015
One of the really attractive options for retirement is moving to another country and, for a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S., living like royalty. Well, I've been hearing a lot of stories about this over the last year, and I think there is reason for concern. This isn't to say that a lot of folks haven't done it successfully.
Gadget Ogling: Shooting Flames, Flowing Time, and Locked-Up Temptation
March 28, 2015
Someway, somehow, it's apparently legal to own the XM42 flamethrower in the United States, unless you happen to live in California or Maryland. I can't fathom any circumstance under which a weapon -- let's not mince words here -- capable of shooting flames 25 feet should be available for anyone to pick up if they have $700 lying around to back Ion Productions' crowdfunding campaign.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
Ford Tech Could Put an End to Speeding Tickets
March 26, 2015
Ford Motors on Tuesday unveiled a new technology that can scan traffic signs and automatically adjust a vehicle's speed accordingly. The Intelligent Speed Limiter was demonstrated in Germany, but it will be available worldwide in the newest edition of Ford's S-Max cars. The technology features a camera mounted on the windshield that works with a recognition system that can read roadside signs.
Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand
March 25, 2015
It looks and sounds good, but virtual reality is still establishing how to get around in the digital worlds it creates. OSVR has placed the controls in the hands of Leap Motion, which may be a stellar move. Leap's novel approach embeds the VR controls in a faceplate that can be attached to an OSVR-compatible headset. The faceplate will be bundled with OSVR's Hacker Dev Kit when it ships in June.
Lawyers Pull Out Stops in Pao Trial Closing Arguments
March 25, 2015
Attorneys on Wednesday advanced their closing arguments in the $16 million sex discrimination suit brought by Ellen Pao against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Final arguments in the trial, which has been ongoing in the Superior Court in San Francisco for about a month, began Tuesday with Pao's attorney, Alan Exelrod, laying out his client's case.
FAA's Sluggish Pace Frustrates Amazon's Drone Ambitions
March 25, 2015
For one brief shining moment, it appeared that Amazon and the FAA were in concert on outdoor drone testing in the U.S., but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing held Tuesday, Amazon put paid to that notion. Although the FAA last week granted Amazon permission to conduct outdoor tests, the unmanned aircraft system covered by the authorization is no longer in use.
Over-the-Air Tinkering Keeps Tesla's Model S New
March 25, 2015
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week said that the company's line of high-end electric cars will get some autonomous driving capabilities via an over-the-air software update this summer. The new features will let drivers give their vehicles control of certain tasks on major roads, possibly even highways. Other software updates for the Tesla S already are rolling out.
Obama Lauds STEM Progress at White House Science Fair
March 24, 2015
President Obama on Monday announced $240 million in new pledges from private businesses, schools and foundations across the country for STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- education. The president also announced that a national goal set four years ago to provide 98 percent of Americans with high-speed wireless Internet has been reached ahead of schedule.
Magic Leap Allows a Peek Into Its Crazy-Cool AR World
March 24, 2015
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz was scheduled to present last week at a TED talk in Vancouver, where he was expected to reveal the augmented reality tech his company has up its sleeve. Magic Leap pulled out a few days ahead of the presentation, but it left the tech world with a teaser trailer showing an AR game being played on a working prototype of its headset.
Glass Is Still a Twinkle in Google's Eye
March 23, 2015
Google hasn't killed Glass, its controversial Internet-connected eyewear, CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview published Monday. In fact, Google plans to bring out a new version of Glass later this year, he said. Rumors of its demise seemed to be confirmed in January, when Google abruptly stopped selling the initial version of Glass and shuttered its Explorer program.
The Big Implications of the Google, FTC Antitrust Scandal
March 23, 2015
A 160-page report that was far more complete than the FTC no doubt wanted last week was leaked to the media, clearly showcasing that the FTC staff recommended action against Google for anticompetitive practices. The FTC commissioners then decided to let Google off the hook, apparently because it made some minor changes. That move gave the impression that the FTC was effectively in Google's pocket.
Gadget Ogling: Cute Robots, Secure Tablets and a Conscientious Can
March 21, 2015
PLEN2 is simply adorable. A robot to seemingly fix all the world's problems, if its Kickstarter project is anything to believe, PLEN2 is possibly the most joyous humanoid machine I've seen in years. Maybe I'm swayed a little by the infectious theme song in the pitch video. The idea is to sell the basic robot and let customers get creative using open source tools and 3D-printed parts.

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Should Europe Throw the Book at Google?
Yes -- Google is an illegal monopoly.
Yes -- Someone has to -- it's in bed with with the U.S. government.
Maybe -- Google provides good services, but it's too powerful.
No -- More power to Google!
No -- Europe should leave U.S. companies alone.
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