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Is It Time to Cleave Linux in Two?
September 15, 2014
Fires may be easy to start, but putting them out is a different matter. Case in point: the Systemd inferno. What started a few weeks ago as a relatively straightforward controversy over an oft-debated technology Visit the VMware Tech Center has now virtually blown up in Linux fans' faces. The latest flareup? None other than the suggestion that Linux be split in two.
Apple Pay Rings Opening Bell in Banks vs. Retailers Match
September 15, 2014
Apple's unveiling last week of its Apple Pay NFC mobile payments system has triggered a clash between banks and the retail industry. Apple has lined up support from banks and credit card companies, but Best Buy and Walmart have said they will not support Apple Pay, according to reports. Instead, they will go with a competing mobile wallet application, CurrentC.
Feds Wielded Baseball Bat to Win Yahoo's NSA Cooperation
September 12, 2014
The Obama administration threatened Yahoo with fines of $250,000 daily if it wouldn't comply with demands to hand over user information to the NSA, Yahoo has disclosed. Yahoo had filed suit against the demands in 2007, citing the Fourth Amendment. "They basically said you must do this thing that you don't want to do or we'll put you out of business," said ITIF's Daniel Castro.
Gadget Ogling: It's Raining Apples
September 12, 2014
It's usually around here that I introduce the column and tease the agenda, but since absolutely nothing happened in the gadget world this week, I'm going to take it easy. Oh, wait -- sorry. Apple happened. Welcome to a special edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a weekly peek at just-announced gadgets. Of course, the big topic is Apple's iPhone 6 and its first wearable, the Apple Watch.
Verizon May Launch Have-It-Your-Way Internet TV
September 12, 2014
Verizon in the first half of next year will launch an Internet TV service that offers a selection of custom channels as well as a bundle of content from the Big Four networks, according to reports. Represented in the mobile-minded bundle will be not only content from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, but also millennials-focused programming from DreamWorks Animation's Awesomeness TV.
Apple's New iPhones: Ho-Hum and Controversial Too
September 11, 2014
Apple's new iPhones didn't take center stage at this week's big event. "The fact that they are ho-hum is interesting in itself," said Nick Spencer, a senior practice director at ABI Research. "Apple is now a company that follows rather than leads." Apple is "at least 18 months late with a large screen device," he pointed out, and its Apple Pay mobile payment feature is "not exactly new."
If Google Were French
September 11, 2014
Europeans are relentlessly attacking Google: A German official called for its breakup, a French minister charged it was a threat to sovereignty, and a publisher compared it to a dragon, according to a report. Really? I would have thought the euro and the draconian austerity program needed to keep it functioning threatened sovereignty more than Google.
The Fortune 500 Crowdfunding Conundrum
September 11, 2014
Marvell recently launched its Kinoma Create construction kit for consumer electronics on Indiegogo. Should a $6.5 billion company turn to crowdfunding to raise money? Are large companies drying up a source of funding that otherwise would be available to startups? Is that morally reprehensible? "Ethics is a personal set of standards and beliefs," noted marketing prof Larry Chiagouris.
Millions of Gmail Users Victims of Latest Password Heist
September 11, 2014
About 5 million Gmail usernames and passwords have been published on a Russian bitcoin security forum as a text file. Sixty percent of the 4.93 million credentials in the file were valid, claimed the poster, who used the online handle "tvskit." The information reportedly was dumped on several Russian cybercrime forums and shared through a variety of peer-to-peer services.
Pols Besieged by Fast, Furious Messages on Internet Slowdown Day
September 10, 2014
U.S. lawmakers were getting an estimated 1,000 calls a minute from constituents concerned about Net neutrality by noon Pacific Time on Internet Slowdown Day, an online demonstration held on Wed., Sept. 10. "We've set a new record for FCC comments and beat Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction,'" said David Moon of Demand Progress. Father of the Internet Tim Berners-Lee tweeted his support.
Apple Watch Dazzles Beyond High Expectations
September 10, 2014
Apple is almost never first to market in a product category, but when it does make its splash, it usually swamps all boats. That seems to be the case again in the smartwatch space. "Every other watch in the market is a beta version compared to what you're seeing coming from Apple," said analyst Michael Morgan. "None of us expected this to be a mind-blowing product," said analyst Trip Chowdhry.
Couples Can't Keep Their Hands Off Each Other's Phones
September 08, 2014
Worried about the NSA spying on you? How about online hackers? Truth be told, the greatest threat to your confidential information is a lot closer to you -- namely, your partner. That's what a recent survey of more than 13,000 people in the United States revealed. Avast last week reported its findings. Among them: The majority of women snoop on their men's phones just because they're curious.
Can Cook Stir Up That Old Black Magic?
September 08, 2014
Excitement is mounting as the countdown to Apple's mysterious Tuesday event ticks away. Apple is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones -- one in the usual smartphone form factor and the other a phablet. There's also a good deal of anticipation for an iWatch or other stylish wearable that will kick the sector into high gear. Some expect Apple to go full blast into the healthcare industry.
College Degree vs. Coding Experience: Which Matters More?
September 08, 2014
Well it was another rough week here in the Linux blogosphere, thanks to the ongoing conflagration over Systemd. Linux Girl hasn't dared shed her flame-retardant cape yet -- just in case -- but was relieved when the conversation took a turn late in the week down at the blogosphere's seedy Broken Windows Lounge. More than a few bloggers were seeking some respite from the flames.
Celebrities Are Fools to Use Apple Products
September 08, 2014
"Celebrities are stupid" seems to be the message Apple delivered last week as it attempted to recover from the release of an impressive number of nude pictures of celebrities on the Web. Fans of BlackBerry, which used to be the preferred platform for celebrities, had a field day over this. Apple has the most loyal customer base, but without Jobs, it seems clear it has no clue how to protect it.
Bad News Hounds Apple Days Before iPhone Gala
September 05, 2014
Apple has been forced to do some serious damage control when it no doubt would rather be rallying fans for its big iPhone launch next week. The company on Tuesday learned that a number of celebrity accounts on its iCloud service had been cracked and some embarrassing photos posted. Then two activist groups on Thursday released a report critical of work conditions at an Apple supplier in China.
Americans Mad as Hell Over Proposed Net Neutrality Rules
September 04, 2014
More than 99 percent of the 800,000 or so comments on Net neutrality the FCC released last month were in favor of an open Internet, according to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of the comments. At least 60 percent of the comments, or more than 484,000, were form letters written by organized campaigns, although that is a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory issues.
We Can Fly to the Moon, but We Can't Secure the Cloud?
September 04, 2014
The entire freaking tech industry is falling down on the job, and Apple, my favorite company in the world, is stumbling around too. What's worse is that it doesn't seem to care. Apple is the most profitable consumer tech company in the world, with billions of dollars in the bank. Yet the company can't seem to be bothered to imagine how easily iCloud user accounts could be compromised.
Home Depot All But Confirms Doozy of a Data Breach
September 03, 2014
Home Depot may have experienced a massive security breach -- possibly on a greater scale than last year's Target breach, which affected an estimated 110 million people. Home Depot said it was investigating the possibility, following security researcher Brian Krebs' Tuesday alert. It appears the perpetrators are the same hackers responsible for the data breaches at Target and elsewhere.
Fanning the Flames of the Systemd Inferno
September 02, 2014
They say art imitates life, but it's surprising how often the same can be said of the Linux blogs. Case in point: Just as the world at large is filled today with fiery strife -- Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Ferguson -- so, too, is the Linux blogosphere. Of course, it's not political, social or racial struggles tearing the FOSS community apart. Rather, the dividing issue here is none other than Systemd.
Victimized Celebs Blamed for Their Indecent Exposure
September 02, 2014
Apple on Tuesday issued a statement blaming the posting online of more than 100 celebrities' photos in various stages of dishabille on a highly targeted hack attack to gain access to their usernames, passwords and answers to security questions. None of the cases investigated resulted from any breach in the company's systems, including iCloud or Find my iPhone, Apple maintained.
What Lies Beneath Social Media Users' Self-Censoring Ways
September 02, 2014
People have been reluctant to discuss whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's surveillance activities in social media, the Pew Center Internet Project reported last week. Only 42 percent of the 1,800 adults interviewed by the center were willing to post their views on the topic on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, although 82 percent were willing to discuss it face to face.
Uber Hustles to Buff Up Its Image
August 29, 2014
Uber is attempting to polish its image with a defense of its driver recruitment tactics following publication this week of accounts of sabotage, dirty tricks and generally ruthless behavior toward Lyft and other competitors in the ride-sharing space. "We want to make sure everyone has access to Uber's unmatched economic opportunity," Uber's "Craig" innocently said in a blog post.
American Airlines Veers Out of Orbitz
August 28, 2014
American Airlines this week withdrew its flight content from Orbitz Worldwide's websites, which include Orbitz.com, ebookers.com and CheapTickets.com. The companies are locked in a booking fee dispute. They have clashed on this issue before, and it is also a brewing source of discontent between the airlines and Orbitz's competitors, such as Expedia.

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