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EU Rides Apple Over Weak In-App Purchase Policies
July 23, 2014
The EU last year adopted a "common position" on how purchases made within mobile and online applications should be treated by operators of app stores. Now Google is drawing praise for striving to comply with EU guidance, while Apple is being rebuked for dragging its feet. Google announced specific steps it's taking, including removal of the word "free" from any app that enables in-app purchases.
Black Hat Tor-Busting Talk Nixed
July 22, 2014
The Tor Project is working to remedy a vulnerability in its anonymity software following the sudden cancellation of a talk at next month's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that would have revealed it. The planned talk would have demonstrated a way to unmask users of Tor, the privacy-minded Web browsing software. CMU researcher Alexander Volynkin was to deliver the briefing.
Apple May Have Ordered a Big Boatload of Big iPhones
July 22, 2014
The frenzy over the forthcoming iPhone intensified Tuesday with a report that Apple has ordered up to 80 million units of the device. Meanwhile, Samsung unveiled an ad poking fun at the "iPhone 6" and Xiaomi introduced its answer to the iPhone, the Mi4. Xiaomi, known for high specs at relatively low prices, is cutting inroads into markets in the developing world where Apple is struggling.
Nvidia's Shield Tablet Earns Praise for Hardware, Shrugs for Games
July 22, 2014
Nvidia is expanding its Shield line of gaming products with the launch of a gaming tablet and accompanying wireless controller. Designed for high performance, the tablet is powered by Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor, which includes 192 graphics processing unit cores. It will be frequently updated with software updates designed to draw stronger performance and additional capabilities from the hardware.
Long, Hot Summer Angling for Military Health Records Contract
July 22, 2014
Vendors could be spending a busy summer preparing to respond to a major federal IT project. The Defense Department is planning to issue a request for bids on a multibillion dollar EHR system by the end of September. The objective of the program is to modernize DoD's EHR system and to make records accessible to the VA, as well as to private medical providers.
GoTenna Makes Wireless 'Magic'
July 22, 2014
Startup GoTenna has launched its eponymously named device, which lets users communicate without the need for a cell tower. "This is an interesting concept," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research. "It's like a walkie-talkie on steroids." The device uses BlueTooth LE to pair with a user's smartphone. It can exchange text messages only with another GoTenna.
Judge Rules Police Can Stuff Entire Email Accounts Into Evidence Lockers
July 21, 2014
Concerns about overly broad searches of digital data by law enforcement once again have emerged after a federal judge issued an opinion stating officials armed with a warrant can seize and hold a suspect's entire email account. Such an action would not violate the suspect's rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein.
Layoffs: There's a Right Way
July 21, 2014
Microsoft last week announced a large staff reduction tied to the acquisition of Nokia. There is actually a science to how to make layoffs, but much of that appears to have been lost over the last couple of decades. I have some theories as to why, but how you carry out job cuts actually is very important, and it reflects how well the CEO understands people.
Siri May Be Starting a Hope Chest
July 18, 2014
It may not be a marriage made in heaven, but the cloud is pretty close. Just hours after IBM and Apple announced their strategic partnership, speculation began to spread about two of their most well-known products: What if Siri and Watson were to hook up? Siri is Apple's voice-enabled digital personal assistant. Watson is IBM's AI software, perhaps best known for winning Jeopardy!
Apple Settles E-Book Price-Fixing Case for $450 Million, Maybe
July 18, 2014
Apple has agreed -- conditionally -- to settle a lawsuit over allegations of fixing the prices of e-books brought against it by the attorneys general of 33 states in the United States, following a protracted legal battle. The settlement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which ruled on the case in September.
Social Robot Jibo Melts Crowdfunders' Hearts
July 18, 2014
A crowdfunding campaign for Jibo, a little robot designed to become one of the family, kicked off Wednesday on Indiegogo, and it already has raised more than $577,000 -- nearly six times its $100,000 target. The voice-controlled robot with a friendly face is a do-it-all personal assistant. It can take pictures, provide information from the Web or apps, order food, display e-books and much more.
Dish's Hopper DVR Is No Aereo
July 17, 2014
Dish Network this week chalked up another legal victory for its Hopper DVR service. An appeals court rejected Fox's bid to disallow some features in the Hopper platform, namely the place-shifting capabilities of Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfers. Dish Anywhere gives Hopper customers the option to view content remotely from Internet-connected devices like tablets, smartphones and computers.
The Big Honking Business-as-Usual IBM-Apple Deal
July 17, 2014
The news that Apple and IBM have joined forces sent a shockwave through the Apple-focused world this week, and I admit it, I was surprised. At first glance, the deal seems to be this big group hug with the two companies becoming inextricably entwined. Yeah, it's not that. In fact, this is the biggest deal that really isn't all that "BIG" that I've seen in a long time.
Android Sets iPhone Cloning Factory in Motion
July 16, 2014
Chinese company Wico has cloned the yet-to-be-released iPhone 6, if a pair of videos can be believed. "The similarities are eerily close," said IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas, to the extent that the casual observer "may just simply accept this as an iPhone." There are slight differences on the sides, such as the volume and power buttons and the headphone jacks, as well as the chassis overall.
Google, Novartis Team on 'Invisible' Health Monitor
July 16, 2014
Novartis' Alcon eye care division has entered an in-license agreement governing all ocular medical uses for Google's smart contact lenses, it announced Tuesday. Google unveiled a prototype of its glucose-monitoring lens in January. Novartis is aiming to expand its healthcare horizons. There are 382 million diabetics around the world today and that number is expected to grow to 582 million by 2035.
Bet You Wish You'd Installed a Blender in a Cooler Lid
July 16, 2014
The hottest crowdsourced hit of the summer is the Coolest Cooler, an unassuming party cooler that features a built-in ice-crushing blender, a removable waterproof Bluetooth speaker, a USB charger, an LED lid light, a gear tie down, super wide wheels for dragging it over sand, a bottle opener, a divider to help keep your margarita ice separate from your sandwiches, and a knife built into the lid.
Microsoft Layoff Rumor Gets Mostly Good Vibes
July 15, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may launch a massive round of layoffs, possibly this week. Some details reportedly are still being worked out. Layoffs have been widely expected since Microsoft purchased Nokia, and Nadella's recent memo to Microsoft employees signaled they might soon be at hand. The layoffs are long overdue, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Internet Heavyweights Lock Arms to Block Fast Lane
July 15, 2014
A trade association including Amazon, Google and Netflix on Monday called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules banning deals by broadband providers for faster delivery of some Internet traffic. The Internet Association, in written testimony submitted to the FCC, called for simple "light touch" rules to ensure an open and neutral Internet.
Super Smash Bros. Packs In 3 More Fighters
July 14, 2014
Blockbuster fighting game series Super Smash Bros. is expanding its ranks with the addition of three new characters. The fourth title in the series will continue the tradition of pitting characters from a string of Nintendo franchises against each other. The latest to join the cast are Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem: Awakening and Captain Falcon of F-Zero fame.
Amazon Floats Drone Exemption Proposal to FAA
July 14, 2014
Amazon is ramping up its drone delivery project and is hoping approval to conduct outdoor testing on its own property. The company has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from rules barring it from testing the devices. Amazon last year revealed it was working on a project that would allow it to deliver small packages to consumers within 30 minutes of ordering via the unmanned aerial vehicles.

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