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Snapchat Hackers Could Be Prosecuted for Child Porn Offenses
October 13, 2014
Private videos and pictures shared between tens of thousands of Snapchat users -- possibly as many as 200,000 -- were posted online by hackers over the weekend in an episode dubbed the "Snappening." Much of the content is sexual, including many nude photos -- some possibly of minors. The hackers appear to have gone for maximum embarrassment and humiliation with this particular breach.
Apple Faithful Prepare to Not Be Dazzled
October 13, 2014
If you're looking for an extravaganza on the scale of last month's new iPhone unveiling, chances are you won't find it at Apple's "Way Too Long" event to be held Thursday at its Cupertino headquarters. "This will be a very low-key event," said Gartner analyst Van L. Baker. The consensus is that Apple will be refreshing its tablet and PC lines, and releasing the prime-time version of OS X Yosemite.
Google's Doctor Is In
October 13, 2014
Google is offering a limited trial of a feature that offers people conducting searches of medical terms the opportunity to engage in a video chat with a health professional via its Helpouts service. Helpouts, which launched last November, connects users with experts in a variety of fields such as Art & Music, Fitness & Nutrition, and Health. The experts typically charge a fee for their service.
DARPA's Concept Car Makes the Batmobile Look So Passť
October 13, 2014
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency last week posted a video of an advanced concept ground vehicle under development in its Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program. It's not clear whether the vehicle in question is a light armored car or a tank, but DARPA wants to give it improved survivability through the use of advanced technologies. The vehicle will rely more on speed than on armor.
When Computers Get a Right Brain
October 13, 2014
IBM is massively increasing its commitment to Watson, which was evident at last week's IBM Think Forum. IBM recognizes that if it can get a product that thinks first, then it can again take absolute control over the technology market, and every other company will be chasing it again. It is making some impressive headway, and the firm that succeeds at this will change the world.
Tesla's Dual-Motor 'D' Ready for Takeoff
October 10, 2014
Tesla Motors on Thursday unveiled the "D" that CEO Elon Musk has been teasing -- a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive, higher-tech version of its Model S electric car. The new model offers better traction, increased driving range, automated features and even higher speeds, Musk said. From the outside, you won't be able to tell it from the current Model S, however. It will share the same exterior.
Gadget Ogling: Strange Cameras, Fast Charges, Racing Robots
October 10, 2014
HTC is stepping so far out of the box with the RE Camera, it's almost as if there was never a box to begin with. Instead of making us stare through a viewfinder, this minimalist device almost demands a return to older forms of photography, while still taking advantage of modern technology. It looks like a cross between a periscope and an asthma inhaler, neither of which scream style.
HTC Breaks From Pack With Selfie Phone, Blind Cam
October 10, 2014
HTC on Thursday debuted two new products for photography fans. One offering, the RE, is an L-shaped camera that doesn't have a viewfinder. The other is a new smartphone, the Desire Eye, which boasts a 13-megapixel front-facing camera for high-resolution selfies. With RE, HTC appears to be targeting the action set that has created a lucrative market for point-of-view camera makers like GoPro.
One Way Around the Mobile Net Neutrality Conundrum
October 09, 2014
Verizon Wireless may be bitterly regretting the challenge Verizon made to the FCC's Net neutrality rules. There's little doubt competing wireless providers are. Verizon in 2010 sued the FCC over its mandate that ISPs treat all Internet data the same. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this year agreed with Verizon and struck down the rules. Now the FCC is putting it all back on the table.
Thync Scores $13M for Foggy Brain Project
October 09, 2014
Thync on Wednesday announced it had raised US$13 million in funding from "top-tier" investors, including lead investor Khosla Ventures. Thync's product, possibly called the "Vibe," is a wearable device that purportedly uses neurosignaling to modify a user's state of mind in relation to energy, calm and focus. Thync's claims have raised some eyebrows.
AT&T Will Fork Over $80M for Mobile Cramming
October 09, 2014
AT&T Mobility will pay $80 million for refunds to consumers who were unlawfully billed for unauthorized third-party charges in a practice known as "mobile cramming," the Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday. AT&T billed customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in subscription charges -- typically in increments of $9.99 per month -- levied by other companies.
Apple's 'Way Too Long' Invite Lands With a Thud
October 09, 2014
Apple's pretty much annual October new product media event usually is preceded by a cute invitation sent to journalists. The invitation typically includes a phrase or graphic element that provides a vague clue to the secret agenda of the event. Presumably, this is to drum up excitement and speculation, in addition to creating an ah-ha moment.
Look, Ma! No Hands... Crunch!
October 08, 2014
Those wonderful hands-free communications capabilities now available in automobiles may carry the promise of making driving safer, but they're not fulfilling it, according to two studies conducted jointly by the University of Utah and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And forget about using your iPhone's Siri in the car, even hands-free -- it might endanger your life.
Highfive Offers Easy, Breezy Videoconferencing Handoffs
October 08, 2014
Highfive on Tuesday released a product priced to put high-quality videoconferencing in any room in any company. The product, also named "Highfive," is a $799 device that connects to a TV and the Internet and can create video conferences in HD with high-fidelity sound. What separates Highfive from other videoconferencing products is the seamless way it integrates mobile devices with conferences.
Pinning Down the Matter/Antimatter Particle Just Got Easier
October 08, 2014
Researchers led by Princeton University physics professor Ali Yazdani have developed an easier way to spot the much-sought-after Majorana fermion. "Theorists have proposed that Majorana can emerge at the edge of some superconductors as quasi-particles, and manipulating them can be used to test their properties as well as building interesting quantum systems that could be useful," Yazdani said.
DEA Lifts Woman's Identity, Creates Fake Facebook Page
October 08, 2014
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reportedly co-opted a woman's identity to create a fake Facebook page as a ruse to investigate suspects. The agency posted racy pictures of the woman, then known as "Sondra Prince," as well as a photo of her young son and niece, to the sham page. The photos were taken from her cellphone, which DEA had seized when Prince was arrested in connection with a drug ring.
Systemd Dev Slams FOSS Culture
October 07, 2014
The open source community is "quite a sick place to be in," said Red Hat engineer and Systemd developer Lennart Poettering. "The open source community is full of [assh*les], and I probably more than most others am one of their most favorite targets," Poettering added. "I get hate mail for hacking on open source. People have started multiple 'petitions' .... asking me to stop working.
GT Files for Chap 11 After Apple's Sapphire Interest Wanes
October 07, 2014
GT Advanced Technologies and seven of its direct and indirect subsidiaries on Monday announced they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. GT, which makes sapphire components used in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, expects the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire to authorize the company to conduct business as usual while it attempts to resolve its current financial issues.
Microsoft's RoomAlive Gaming Jumps Out of the Box
October 06, 2014
Microsoft Research on Sunday demonstrated RoomAlive, a new technology that can transform any room into an immersive and interactive gaming display. Based on a scalable multiprojector system that adapts gaming content to the physical space, RoomAlive allows users to touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content that becomes seamlessly integrated with their environment.
FDA Aims to Shore Up Medical Device Cybersecurity
October 06, 2014
The Food and Drug Administration last week released long-awaited recommendations aimed at better managing cybersecurity risks to protect patient health and information. The new standards recommend manufacturers take into account cybersecurity risks as part of the design and development of a medical device. They require device makers to submit documentation to the FDA about identified risks.
Dell OEM: The Magic Is in the Mystery
October 06, 2014
I had a chance last week to talk with the most secretive group inside Dell. They are kind of like the Q Division in the James Bond movies. These folks are pretty much unique in the industry, in that they build PCs and servers that are highly customized for firms that then place them into unusual solutions. This is the kind of machine that might go into a unique military vehicle.
Intel Pulls Ads Under Pressure From Angry Antifeminist Gamers
October 06, 2014
Intel confirmed that it pulled its advertising from a gaming website and community hub after it received feedback from its customers. Intel takes customer feedback very seriously when it relates to contextually relevant content and placements, the company reportedly said. However, the fact that Intel pulled its ads from Gamasutra is just one part of a story that involved a coordinated campaign.
Gadget Ogling: Jump Starts, Wearable Drones, Smarter Yoga and Safer Food
October 03, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, to a new installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares. On the docket this time around are a motivational wearable device, a smart yoga mat, a golfer-focused smartwatch, a drone with a difference, and a way to stop food from going bad. As always, these aren't reviews -- the ratings denote only my interest in actually using them.
The One Apple Watch Thing That Really Matters
October 03, 2014
While the cellphone nearly killed the wristwatch, the Apple Watch gizmo actually will revive it. In fact, I think the attention that the Apple Watch will bring to our wrists will spark sales of traditional watches. Why? I believe there is a latent desire to have a wristwatch -- to have the convenience of the time on your wrist without the need to pull out your smartphone.

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