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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."
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.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
XP Users Have a Bad Headache Coming On
April 07, 2014
Money will be the biggest problem users of Windows XP will face when Microsoft officially stops supporting it on Tuesday. As a last resort, Microsoft is offering custom support for Windows XP as a temporary stopgap. That could cost as much as $200 per PC per year, Gartner estimated. The UK government reportedly has paid Microsoft about $9 million to extend Windows XP support for one year.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Net Brass Calm Solons' Woes Over 'Internet Giveaway'
April 04, 2014
The lords of the Internet and the Obama administration this week sought to calm congressional fears that the U.S. was planning to give control of the Web to foreign powers. At a public hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fadi Chehadé, president and CEO of ICANN, and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling argued to get the U.S. out of the Internet governance business.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
Net Neutrality Wins Tough Battle in European Parliament
April 03, 2014
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new Net neutrality rules. Net neutrality, both in the EU and in the U.S., refers to the concept of requiring ISPs to treat all traffic the same regardless of its source. In Europe, that means ISPs such as Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom can't deliver content from competitive providers of, say, online videos, via slower pipes or make them pay more.
Would You Like Your Open Source All the Way?
April 01, 2014
The enterprise software industry today can be compared to the menus offered at fast-food eateries. Some offer their star item only one way. Others let you have it your way. How much choice you have often determines where you do your eating. The same option -- or lack of it -- is the driving principal behind attracting and keeping enterprise customers paying for open source product support.
Doing the Mobile Payments Sync Dance
April 01, 2014
Two of the most hotly debated issues surrounding the future of m-commerce are these: 1) How quickly will it grow when consumers finally begin to accept the idea of a mobile wallet? and 2) When, exactly, are they going to start accepting it? There are myriad answers to those questions, including when security fears can be allayed, and when mobile payments offer more value than using a credit card.
Facebook Internet Project: The Skies Have It
March 31, 2014
Facebook last week announced more detailed plans to bring affordable Internet access to every person on the planet. Mark Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive, revealed some fresh details about the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is carrying out to build drones, satellites and lasers geared to providing connectivity for everyone as part of the Internet.org initiative.
Microsoft's Office for iPad Scores Big
March 31, 2014
Microsoft last week unveiled Office for iPad, which consists of Excel, Word and PowerPoint, rearchitected from the ground up. Office for iPad is available as a free download for the iPad and iPhone, with limited capability. Users who want to create or edit documents with the office suite have to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft prefers Apple over Google, noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.
US Judge: Free Speech Protects Baidu's Beijing-OK'd Results
March 28, 2014
A Manhattan judge ruled that a Chinese search engine's practice of restricting free speech is, wouldn't you know it, protected by free speech. Chinese Internet company Baidu won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit filed by activists who objected to its, shall we say, selective search results, which adhere to the government's notoriously limited view of what is and isn't acceptable.
Service-Based IT Switches Up Feds' Vendor Relationships
March 28, 2014
Cloud computing has ushered in an emphasis on service-oriented, on-demand information technology in the federal market. The shift from acquiring hard assets, such as computers, servers and even mobile devices, as well as software packages installed on those assets, has been gradual. However, the process has reached a point that it requires more attention from the vendor community.
Bitcoin Fans Rejoice in IRS Ruling
March 27, 2014
The U.S. will tax bitcoin and other virtual currencies as property, the IRS said Tuesday. Virtual currency will be treated as property for U.S. federal tax purposes, and transactions in virtual currency will be subject to general tax principles. Taxpayers who receive virtual currency as payment for goods or services must calculate that payment at the currency's fair market value in U.S. dollars.
Microsoft Launches Public Cloud in China
March 27, 2014
Microsoft is now offering general availability of its Azure cloud service in China, becoming the first multinational company to provide public cloud services in the Middle Kingdom. Microsoft is partnering with 21Vianet, a Chinese data center services provider, a marriage that likely helped appease Beijing officials. Until now, all major cloud providers in China have been Chinese.
Sony Gives Android Wear the Cold Shoulder
March 25, 2014
It's been just barely a week since Google's Android Wear project made its initial debut, but already one major maker of wearable devices has snubbed the new platform. Sony this week said it will stick with its own Android-based SmartWatch platform for wearables instead. Consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on as Android Wear partners.
Obama, Legislators Tackle Bulk Surveillance Issue
March 25, 2014
The political frenzy over the NSAy's collection of Americans' bulk telephone metadata is escalating, with both the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee announcing plans to introduce legislation to regulate the practice. The White House's proposal reportedly would require phone companies to store the data and provide it under a court order.
China Seeks Answers About NSA/Huawei Report
March 25, 2014
China's government is asking the U.S. to explain itself -- and to knock it off with all the cyberespionage -- following reports that the National Security Agency has had its way with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The NSA reportedly penetrated Huawei servers to monitor communications among company executives, and to gain access to the dealings of Huawei customers.

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