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Samsung, Apple Kick Off Round Eleventy in Patent Fight
December 10, 2014
Apple and Samsung last week squared off again in court over their long-running patent dispute. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard Samsung's appeal of the $930 million in damages a district court awarded to Apple for patent infringement, following a trial in 2012 and a retrial in 2013. "Samsung never wanted this fight," said Fosspatents' Florian Mueller.
NSA's Auroragold Mining Operation
December 10, 2014
The United States National Security Agency, which is known for monitoring landline, Web and cellphone communications worldwide, reportedly also targets wireless carriers. Documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden show the NSA has monitored more than 1,200 email accounts associated with major cellphone network operators worldwide since 2010.
No One Has Privacy Now, Thanks to Super Cookies
December 10, 2014
Does anyone really think that we have any privacy? Probably not. Between GPS tracking and our favorite app, most of us gave up on privacy long ago. Some privacy advocates claim that cell carriers have not been transparent about what personal data they have been gathering and using, although we now know that in order to use a cellular device, we must agree to give it away.
Online Reviews: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff
December 09, 2014
The majority of Americans rely on online reviews, with some 78 percent checking them out before making a purchase, according to a recent survey. Forty-four percent of those polled said they had written reviews themselves. At the same time, many customers doubt the ratings reviewers give products. Perhaps that's because a number of people admitted to reviewing products they never used.
Federal IT Contract Forecast: Mostly Foggy
December 09, 2014
Federal agencies will be keeping a sharp eye on how much they spend on information technology over the next several years, as budgets will remain tight. In order to deal effectively with tighter budgets, IT providers to the government will have to understand the complex contracting procedures federal agencies will use to maintain discipline in spending.
Hackers Derail Sony's PlayStation Network
December 09, 2014
Still reeling from a cyberintrusion that exposed massive amounts of personnel data from its entertainment division on the Internet, Sony was attacked again over the weekend. This time, hackers disrupted the company's PlayStation Network. However, unlike the foray against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is still under investigation, the company quickly recovered.
Uber Lurches Down Rocky Road
December 08, 2014
An Uber driver in New Delhi has been arrested on charges of raping his passenger, prompting authorities there to ban the service from operating within city limits. Meanwhile, the Netherlands' Commercial Appeals Court has issued a preliminary judgment that Uber must stop working with drivers who lack a taxi license but charge passengers fares for rides.
Sales and Marketing Aren't Aligned - but Their Problems Are
December 08, 2014
The numbers prove it: Sales and marketing just aren't playing well together in most organizations. A not-so-small industry has sprung up to attack the issue of sales/marketing alignment, but the problem is so deeply entrenched that it may never be fully eradicated. That's a little weird when you think about it. The two sides are confronting problems that parallel each other.
Video Gamers Recall 'Father' Ralph Baer's Extraordinary Legacy
December 08, 2014
Ralph H. Baer, the father of the home video game, died Saturday at 92. Baer invented the Odyssey video game system and co-invented the electronic game Simon. While working as a military contractor for Sanders Associates in the '60s, Baer began to explore the possibility of creating a video game system that could be played on the television. The result of his work was the "Brown Box."
Google Sets Its Sights on the Under-12 Set
December 08, 2014
Google soon will begin targeting kids 12 and under with tailored versions of its products, likely including its search functionality, along with offerings such as YouTube and Chrome. The company is pushing to change make its products fun and safe for children, Pavni Diwanji, Google vice president of engineering, said last week. The new initiative reportedly will begin next year.
An iPod Moment Is About to Make Your PC Obsolete
December 08, 2014
I was at Dell's thin client briefing earlier this week at its new facility in California's Silicon Valley, and it clearly is feeling very confident, in light of HP's plan to split its company. There really have been only two major players in the thin client space for a few years, and they are HP and Dell, but HP's split would seem to make its offering obsolete.
Apple Doesn't Need No Stinking Streaming Media Stick!
December 05, 2014
In the first three quarters of 2014, the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV made stunning gains in sales activity versus the market-leading Roku and the No. 2 device from 2012 and 2013, the Apple TV. Roku snapped up 29 percent of sales, while Google Chromecast rose to claim 20 percent, edging past the Apple TV's 17 percent. The Amazon Fire TV, which launched in April, is already in fourth place.
Hawking Sounds Alarm Over AI's End Game
December 05, 2014
Artificial intelligence eventually could bring about mankind's demise, according to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. "Once humans develop [full] artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate," he said. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded."
Sony's Cyber-Whodunit Is a Page-Turner
December 05, 2014
Who breached Sony Pictures' network and why continues to be a puzzle a week after news of the hack first emerged. Some speculate it was an inside job. A few have pointed fingers at North Korea, which returned its own one-finger salute in response. Others discount that possibility. In the meantime, the FBI has issued a warning stating destructive malware is on the loose.
Apple Accused of Secretly Snuffing Non-iTunes Music Purchases
December 04, 2014
Apple for two years surreptitiously removed from iPods any music not purchased at its iTunes store, prosecutors charged Wednesday in federal court. The accusations surfaced during the trial of a 10-year-old class-action lawsuit claiming Apple violated federal and state laws when it issued iPod software updates that prevented the devices from playing songs not purchased on iTunes.
Twitter Gives Harassed Users a Little Ammo
December 04, 2014
Twitter has announced a revamp of its system for reporting abuse on its service. The new changes make it easier to report account impersonation, harassment of others on the service, and threats of harm to oneself or others, said Shreyas Doshi, Twitter's director of product management. The changes allow subscribers to report abuse of others, and simplify flagging tweets and accounts for review.
Things Not to Say to an Irate Customer, or Anthem's Epic Fail
December 04, 2014
I have sympathy for customer service representatives. I know that customers can be ignorant, demanding and ill-mannered. Still, CSRs should be trained to deal with bad-tempered customers. Also, CSRs should be trained to avoid provoking pleasant and agreeable customers to the edge of meltdown -- or beyond. If your ears are burning, Elizabeth at Anthem Blue Cross, yes, I'm talking about you.
Everything's Coming Up Broadband
December 04, 2014
Comcast and AT&T. Broadband started as a service for people to surf the Web. Generally, it was a separate service offered by the telephone and cable television companies. However, things are changing and growing. The changes that are occurring in the industry are groundshaking, but they don't get as much attention as they should. Understanding these changes is important.
Customers Speak
December 03, 2014
Several news stories have provided interesting insights into the Black Friday phenomenon and into customer behavior. One indicates sales slipped by 0.5 percent from the same period last year, despite sharp discounting and stores opening on Thanksgiving. Another story shows how the Black Friday phenomenon is catching on in the UK. It looks like the mania is spreading even as it cools in the U.S.
Apple Fights Yesteryear's iTunes DRM War
December 03, 2014
Apple this week clomped into court to continue fighting a nearly 10-year-old class-action suit stemming from its use of digital rights management technology in iPods. The suit originally was brought in 2005. Both sides' lawyers have filed dozens of trial documents in several hearings. The courts have dismissed some of the items in the original complaint, but have refused to dismiss the case.
Cybersecurity Threats 2015: More Espionage, More Apple Malware
December 03, 2014
Cyberspies will flourish and hackers will target Apple devices more often in 2015. Until now, Russia, China and the United States have dominated the cyberespionage scene, but their success will start to attract new players to the practice. "We can expect some of the developing economies ... to engage in these activities to protect their growth status," said Websense's Carl Leonard.
High Court Hears Arguments in Facebook Threat Case
December 02, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in "the Facebook threat case," which centers on a number of threats posted in the form of rap lyrics to a Facebook page created by Anthony Elonis. The targets of the threats were his estranged wife and an FBI agent. Elonis was convicted on four of five counts of making threatening statements in violation of federal law.
Cyber Monday Reveals New Customer Spending Patterns
December 02, 2014
Despite a ho-hum level of sales volume over the past four days, online sales this Cyber Monday were up 8.7 percent over the same period in 2013 by late afternoon, according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. Continuing a trend that has been growing for the last few years, mobile sales accounted for 21.3 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday, an increase of 29.3 percent year over year.
Journalist-Tracking Uber Exec Gets Vague Hand Slap
December 02, 2014
Uber has disciplined a company executive accused of using an internal tool to track a journalist's whereabouts, it said. The company offered no details about the nature of that reprimand, however, or about the possibility of taking similar action against another executive who publicly suggested the possibility of targeting journalists with a smear campaign.

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