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Scientists Fire Up Brain-to-Brain Instant Messaging
September 05, 2014
It's a trivial matter to send a message to someone halfway around the world these days, but just imagine trying to do it without speaking or writing. That is just what a team of neuroscientists and robotics engineers recently achieved in an experiment that successfully transmitted a message directly -- and noninvasively -- from the brain of one person to that of another some 5,000 miles away.
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.
Now Netflix Members Can Pick Which Friends Can See Their Picks
September 03, 2014
Recommending movies and TV shows you've watched on Netflix to individual Facebook friends just got easier. The company on Tuesday launched a new social recommendation feature that lets users pick and choose the contacts they'd like to interact with after viewing a video. "It makes more sense that way," Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research.
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.
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.
Dropbox Pro Pricing Takes a Nosedive
September 02, 2014
Dropbox last week announced a Pro cloud-storage overhaul that includes new features and lower pricing. Improved security and better sharing controls are the focus of the new features, while a simplified pricing plan offers all Dropbox Pro users a full terabyte of storage for $9.99 per month, replacing multiple options that offered less storage at higher prices.
Twitter Lets Ordinary Users Get Analytical
August 29, 2014
Twitter this week announced that its analytics tool now can be used by everyone. Twitter's analytics tool lets users click on any tweet to see how people engage with it in real time. They can compare their tweet activity month over month and see how they trend over time. Users also can click on a tweet to see the number of retweets, replies, favorites, follows or clicks received.
TWC Bungle Could Jeopardize Comcast Merger
August 28, 2014
Time Warner Cable suffered a massive service outage in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, leaving an unknown number of its nearly 12 million customers nationwide without service for hours. "As of 6 a.m. ET, services were largely restored ... . As of 8 a.m., all services were back to normal," said TWC's Eric Mangan. Well, not quite all -- Downdetector's statistics showed outages continued.
Robo Brain Teaches a Robot to Fish
August 28, 2014
Researchers are building Robo Brain, a large-scale computational system that collates information from the Internet, from computer simulations, and from real-life robot trials -- and learns from it. That knowledge base will be used to drive prototypes for robotics research, household robots and self-driving cars. The researchers have begun downloading an assortment of images and documents.
A Big Honking iPad Could Roll Right Over Apple's Speed Bump
August 27, 2014
While the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is working to establish itself as the perfect tweener device between tablet and laptop, one hot rumor suggests that Apple's answer for more working space on an iPad will come in the form of a bigger screen -- 12.9 inches of touch-sensitive glory. The rumor comes from Bloomberg, which vaguely cited "people with knowledge of the matter."
Instagram Hyperlapse Sparks Time-Lapse Video Craze
August 27, 2014
Instagram has released Hyperlapse, a free iOS app that takes the jitters out of time-lapse video. Just two weeks ago, Microsoft demonstrated a similar technology that bears the same name. The Instagram app "is the most impressive effect to hit smartphone video in recent memory," said Ross Rubin, principal analyst with Reticle Research. An Android version is not yet available.
Facebook Trains Sights on Clickbaiters
August 26, 2014
Clickbaiting may soon come to an end on Facebook, which has launched an effort to deal with the problem. Posts with clickbait headlines get higher placement in News Feeds, pushing down more desirable content. Eighty percent of the time, users prefer headlines that help them decide whether they want to read a full article before having to click through, a Facebook survey indicated.
NSA Shares Its Data Wealth
August 26, 2014
The United States National Security Agency secretly shares the communications data it has amassed over the years with nearly 24 U.S. government agencies using a search engine resembling Google Search, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. That's more than 850 billion records of phone calls, emails, cellphone locations and Internet chats.
Torvalds Says Yes to the Desktop
August 25, 2014
It was just a few short weeks ago that we here in the Linux blogosphere were rehashing the open source world's documentation dilemma -- one of those perennial topics bloggers love to resurrect whenever there appears to be a lull in the conversation. At the time, alert readers may recall, Linux Girl compared the topic to the ongoing "Year of Linux on the Desktop" debate -- another favorite.
Amazon Pulls a Twitch on Google
August 25, 2014
Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Twitch Interactive, a real-time video platform for gamers. Prior to the disclosure, rumors had been building that it was on track to snatch Twitch from Google, which reportedly had been very close to buying it. The pending acquisition was rumored to be for upwards of $1 billion. However, Amazon said it was buying the company for $970 million cash.
Sony DDoS Attack May Have Been Smokescreen
August 25, 2014
Sony's PlayStation and Sony Entertainment networks were taken down over the weekend by a distributed denial of service attack. The hackers, who call themselves the "Lizard Squad," also forced authorities to divert a plane Sony Entertainment president was on by tweeting that there might be a bomb on board. A hacker with the handle "FamedGod" later claimed responsibility for the DDoS attack.
Nextdoor Offers Digital Path to Neighborliness
August 25, 2014
A mother in Walnut Creek, California, recently placed an expensive order for baby formula and diapers that never arrived. Subsequent investigation showed that the package had been delivered but snatched from her doorstep. That's a common enough story in this era of e-commerce, but this one has a happy ending. The woman turned to a social network for help.
Google Autocomplete's Brushes With Libel
August 25, 2014
Can an automated Google feature that ostensibly helps users with a search be a basis for libel? Courts in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong have had to field that question. Google's position is that there is no human intervention, and that its algorithm is based merely on what others have searched for, or strings of words in indexed pages. Autocomplete predictions are just possible search terms.
Twitter Tromps on Spammers
August 25, 2014
Twitter has reported success with its BotMaker spam-prevention system. Because Twitter operates in real time, BotMaker is designed to work fast to eliminate spammers. Its main goals are to bar spam accounts from being created, to reduce the time they spend on Twitter if they do show up, and to reduce Twitter's reaction time in responding to spammer workarounds that bypass its protection systems.
SoundCloud to Run Ads, Share the Loot
August 22, 2014
SoundCloud on Thursday launched On SoundCloud, a program that will facilitate advertising on the site. Membership initially is by invitation only; SoundCloud will roll it out to a select number of artists. It later plans to bring on more advertisers and make the program available to the general membership. The announcement sparked a mixed response. "Really dude?" wrote "creator 1,000,001. "Ads?"
Hack Day Produces Oculix, a Mind-Blowing Trip Through the Netflix Catalog
August 21, 2014
A team of Netflix programmers merged the company's videos with the virtual reality capability offered by the Oculus Rift headset as a fun project on Netflix Hack Day. The Oculix media app lets users browse a floating 3D Netflix video catalog using head turning movements and hand gestures. Once a selection is made, the user can watch the video in a VR theater setting.
Dropbox's Mailbox Lands on Mac Desktop
August 20, 2014
Dropbox, which acquired Mailbox last year, on Tuesday announced the availability of a Mac-only desktop beta version of the program. The beta is free, but you need a "betacoin" to download it. Betacoins are being emailed to existing users of the program, as well as people who sign up at the Mailbox website. Desktop Mailbox has a number of new features not found in its mobile doppelgangers.

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