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Facebook isn't giving up on search

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 24 Juli 2014 | 16.00

Facebook reported Wednesday that it now handles an average of more than 1 billion searches a day, but it still has work to do to provide a comprehensive search tool.

Early last year, Facebook unveiled an ambitious search project called Graph Search. The feature was conceived to index the people on Facebook, their posts and the connections between them, to provide a personalized search tool based around people's social networks. It would allow for searches on a variety of topics pertaining to places, people, interests and other topics.

When it was announced at Facebook's headquarters in California, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described it as a way to make Facebook more useful by providing more answers to questions and helping to encourage new connections among members.

Facebook launched Graph Search in 2013, but the company would concede it has a ways to go to index all the content on its site.

It's not quite there yet. On Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Facebook is still a ways off from indexing the range of content on its site. And it's probably even further from making it easily searchable.

"Search for Facebook is going to be a multi-year voyage," Zuckerberg said during a conference call with financial analysts, coming off Facebook's second-quarter earnings announcement. "There's just so much content that's unique to the Facebook ecosystem," he said.

With Graph Search, Facebook started with indexing people. But the company's now working more on indexing the trillion-plus connections among them, as well as their posts, Zuckerberg said.

Ultimately, with this indexing, Facebook wants to give people answers to questions they can't get anywhere else, Zuckerberg said. As an example, the CEO said that the other day he was curious which of his friend's friends worked at a certain company.

Graph Search currently is only available on the desktop version of Facebook. It will let you ask questions such as "Restaurants in Denver, Colorado, my friends like," or "Friends who like to ski." The results, of course, will depend on what information your connections have shared.

Facebook has big competitors in search, the obvious one being Google. Google does not break out its daily searches, but it does handle more than 100 billion a month, according to the company. Graph Search's promised functions would also compete with services offered by Yelp, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and even upstarts like Jelly.

But with well over 1 billion active users, Facebook has a lot of data to use for a search tool.


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EBay faces class action suit over data breach

EBay faces a class action suit in a U.S. federal court over a security breach earlier this year.

The consumer privacy class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Collin Green, a citizen of the state of Louisiana, alleged that the security breach was the result of eBay's inadequate security in regard to protecting identity information of its millions of customers.

The e-commerce site's failure to properly secure the information "has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage to its customers, the putative class members herein," according to the complaint by Green which asks for class action status.

EBay informed users in May that it was aware of unauthorized access to eBay systems that may have exposed some customer information. The company said there was no evidence that financial data was compromised. The company subsequently advised users to change their eBay passwords as the attack compromised a database containing eBay user passwords.

"The thieves had access to, and reportedly copied, customer names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth, at a minimum," according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The company did not immediately notify its customers when it first became aware of the February 2014 security breach and instead waited to inform customers until after the news had leaked out of the company, according to the complaint. "eBay's profit-driven decision to withhold the fact of its security lapse further damaged the class members who were prevented from immediately mitigating the damages from the theft," it said, while blaming eBay for not adequately securing the data.

EBay could not be immediately reached for comment.

Green, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, has asked for a jury trial. The combined claims of the proposed class members exceed US$5 million exclusive of interest and costs.


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More AT&T customers switch to paying for their phones

A majority of AT&T's new smartphone customers are now choosing a plan where they pay for their phones over time, helping to drive strong second-quarter financial results, the carrier said.

Under the AT&T Next plan, introduced last July, subscribers make monthly device payments and can switch to a new phone model once a year. That saves AT&T from having to subsidize the phone, something U.S. mobile operators have done for years at great cost. Interest in Next is accelerating, making up more than 50 percent of the carrier's smartphone additions and plan upgrades in the second quarter.

AT&T Next and multiple-device, shared-data plans also led subscribers to buy and use more mobile data, the carrier said. Just over half of its postpaid customers are on AT&T Mobile Share plans, and 49 percent of those accounts have signed up for 10GB per month or more.

As consumers shifted how they pay for their phones, AT&T brought in less revenue from mobile services in the quarter but far more from selling devices. It expects even more customers to move away from subsidized plans over the rest of the year, executives said on a conference call Wednesday.

That's good for business, AT&T says. The company gained more than 1 million postpaid wireless subscribers in the quarter, its biggest gain in almost five years. Current customers also stuck around: Postpaid churn, or customer turnover, was just 0.86 percent, the second-lowest figure in the history of U.S. mobile operators, according to Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility.

The carrier's LTE network now reaches more than 290 million U.S. residents and should be substantially completed by the end of the summer, de la Vega said.

In its wireline business, AT&T gained 488,000 subscribers to its U-Verse High-Speed Broadband service during the quarter. About 70 percent of the company's broadband customers subscribe to that service now. AT&T's planned acquisition of satellite service provider DirecTV, which is still pending regulatory approvals, is proceeding on schedule, the company said. That deal will help AT&T bundle video, voice and data services together for more customers, Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said. "Service bundles are a proven winner for us," he said.

AT&T's overall revenue for the quarter was $32.6 billion, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier. Earnings per share declined to $0.68 from $0.71, but the company stood by its forecast for higher revenue and earnings per share for the full year.


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Seafaring robot shrugs off monster Typhoon Rammasun

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 23 Juli 2014 | 16.01

It was a storm that would terrify the bravest of mariners, but a California robot swam through it without blinking.

The Wave Glider robot has weathered a direct onslaught by Typhoon Rammasun, battling 9-meter waves and gusts up to 216 kilometers per hour while gathering data on sea surface conditions, maker Liquid Robotics said Tuesday.

The surface robot, which slowly bobs through ocean waves at about walking speed, was remotely piloted through the storm on the South China Sea. The robot has a propulsion system that uses the motion of waves to move it forward.

Rammasun, the strongest typhoon to batter the region in decades, has left over 150 people dead in the Philippines, Vietnam and China, as well as hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in damage. Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones refer to the same kind of ocean storm depending on its location in the Pacific, Atlantic or Indian oceans.

"To our knowledge, this is the most powerful storm that a Wave Glider or any other sea robotic system has weathered successfully at the sea surface," Graham Hine, senior vice president at Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics, said in an interview.

"Interestingly, the telemetry shows no degradation of the system, so all of the sensing systems and vehicle performance seem to be nominal."

The robot in question will be recovered in about a week and was deployed for a corporate customer of Liquid Robotics, which has over 250 Wave Gliders deployed around the world.

Wave Gliders have sensors to measure oceanographic conditions such as the speed and direction of winds and currents, temperature, wave action and barometric pressure. They also have satellite, cellular and even Wi-Fi communications capabilities for data transmission.

The machines can swim the seas and collect data for months on end. Some have been recovered with embedded shark teeth, jellyfish tentacles and other evidence of encounters with marine life.

In 2012, an autonomously navigating Wave Glider launched in San Francisco reached Australia after a record-setting 16,600-km trek across the Pacific Ocean, demonstrating the technology could survive the high seas.

Liquid Robotics believes that the information gathered by the other robot's passage through Rammasun will complement predictions of how and when typhoons and hurricanes make landfall.

"The hope is that by getting more measurements at the sea surface and really understanding how the energy is transferred from the sea water to the air and vice versa is pretty critical to being able to predict the intensity of the hurricane when it hits shore," Hine said.


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Apple hit with class action lawsuit for alleged labor rule violations

Apple faces in a state court in California a class action suit that its employees were not provided timely meal breaks, rest breaks and final paychecks, according to the lawyer for the employees.

The Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego certified the case as a class action in a suit filed by Apple's retail and corporate employees, said Tyler J. Belong, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, on Tuesday.

Judge Ronald S. Prager appointed the plaintiffs and their counsel Hogue & Belong as class representatives and counsel on behalf of close to 21,000 employees.

Apple now faces claims of meal period, rest period and final pay violations affecting the current and former Apple employees, as a result of the ruling, Belong wrote in an email explaining the court decision.

The violations are said to have happened between December 2007 to August 2012. Apple changed its meal and rest period policy in August 2012, about eight months after the suit was filed, Judge Prager wrote in his order on Monday.

The judge said that a class action was the only feasible method to "fairly and efficiently adjudicate" the claims in a case where the costs of litigating are high for the individual while potential recovery per individual is low.

Rather than having over 20,995 lawsuits or hearings before the Labor Commissioner on the same claims alleged in the action, a class action would allow all individual actions to be resolved once on behalf of all claimants, he added.

The complaint under the California Labor Code was filed in December 2011 by Brandon Felczer and others on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, who sustained injuries or damages as a result of Apple's alleged violation of the wage and hour laws in California.

Apple was not immediately available for comment. It reported quarterly earnings earlier on Tuesday.


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Google has to face US privacy suit over new user data policy

A California court has allowed a privacy class action suit against Google to continue, though only in part.

After evaluating each claim of each sub-class in the suit, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has allowed two claims of the "Android Application Disclosure Subclass," which includes all persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between Aug. 19, 2004 and the present, and downloaded at least one Android application through the Android Market or Google Play.

On March 1, 2012, Google introduced a single, unified policy that allows the company to comingle user data across accounts and disclose it to third-parties for advertising purposes.

This move triggered the class action lawsuit in March, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, which argued that by switching to the less-restrictive privacy policy without user consent, Google violated both its prior policies and consumers' privacy rights, according to court records.

The Android Application Disclosure Subclass claimed Google's disclosures to third parties caused increased battery and bandwidth consumption as well as invasions of their statutory and common law privacy rights.

The suit was filed over two years ago and since then the court twice dismissed the plaintiffs' claims. Google moved for a third dismissal.

The claims allowed by the judge includes a breach of contract claim that Google breached terms of the contract by disclosing user data to third parties following every download or purchase of an app, resulting in damages in the form of resource consumption. The second claim is under California's Unfair Competition Law.

Claims by persons and entities in the U.S. that acquired an Android-powered device between May 1, 2010 and Feb. 29, 2012 and switched to a non-Android device on or after March 1, 2012 were dismissed.

Google could not be immediately reached for comment.


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Goodwill Industries investigates suspected payment card breach

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 22 Juli 2014 | 16.00

Goodwill Industries International said Monday federal authorities are investigating a possible payment card breach at its U.S.-based retail outlets.

The nonprofit agency, which sells donated goods to fund employment programs, was notified on Friday, according to a statement from Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Goodwill's director of public relations. The U.S. Secret Service is investigating along with payment card industry fraud units.

A number of large retail companies have been affected by aggressive campaigns by hackers seeking to compromise point-of-sale (POS) terminals, the computerized cash registers that process payment card transactions.

Such systems were involved in data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and Michaels. In those cases, malicious software was installed on the terminals and collected payment card details.

Other companies, including P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Sally Beauty, have disclosed data breaches but not detailed what lead to the losses.

The successful attacks against POS systems have taken place despite a years-long campaign to ensure payment card systems are well protected against attacks.

Visa and MasterCard mandate that merchants follow the Payment Card Industry's Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), a lengthy set of recommendations for security payment processing systems. Still, the systems are complicated, and simple configurations errors can be capitalized on by hackers.

Goodwill said it planned to take "prompt and appropriate actions" if a breach is discovered.

"Goodwills across the country take the data of consumers seriously and their community well-being is our number one concern," it said.


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BrandPost: How private NAS beats the public cloud for small business

The public cloud offers extra features like automated offsite backup – but did you know you can get these things and more with a private cloud solution as well? Here's a look at three ways private NAS setups are becoming a preferable option for small businesses.

Opening the Door for Affordable Virtualization Services

NAS has come a long way since its origin as a system for secure, on-site data storage. Today's NAS devices can serve as platforms for virtualization services that would otherwise require expensive and complex hardware to manage. The opportunity to take advantage of NAS as a more economic alternative to a pricey contract with a company like VMWare is a huge benefit for small businesses. 

QNAP's Virtualization Station allows you to create virtualized desktops that run Windows, Linux, or Unix operating systems and manage them all from one simple interface. You can assign separate network resources to each virtual machine, and create snapshots of each virtual machine's status at any point in time. If a VM experiences a failure, you can quickly roll things back to an earlier environment. The biggest advantages to using NAS for virtualization are cost (virtualization is built right into the NAS) and safety (file transfers are delivered within the LAN, instead of over the Internet). 

Security and Stability You Can Trust

When it comes to ensuring your data is safely stored, it simply doesn't get any better than using a QNAP Turbo NAS. Public cloud services have recently come under fire for breaches caused by hackers and lengthy service outages that have left customers unable to access their data for hours. With a locally hosted NAS device, uptime is no longer a question mark, and your data is always accessible rather than potentially held hostage by the vagaries of the unstable Internet.

Furthermore, your data is always protected by multiple security measures while it resides on your NAS. Sensitive files are encrypted, and unapproved IP addresses are automatically locked out by Turbo NAS software. Integrated antivirus detection (with email notification) and full military-grade encryption on both internally and externally connected hard drives give you excellent all-around protection from security breaches and malware.

NAS Boosts the Benefits of the Public Cloud

Public cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon S3 are convenient ways to add storage on a pay-as-you-go basis. But setting up these services on multiple client computers can be complicated and time-consuming. More importantly, when you're finished, you're left with only a single cloud-based copy of your data as a backup.

With QNAP Turbo NAS, you can use Azure and S3 directly through your own private QNAP hardware. With S3 and Azure - both available as apps for the QNAP Turbo NAS - you simply back up data from your network directly to your Turbo NAS, then use the app to make a secondary backup that's sent to Azure or S3. That way, you maintain a local copy of your data on your own network, and a second copy resides in the public cloud, letting you double down on backup security. These apps even increase your level of data protection through the addition of client-side encryption and the ability to restore accidentally deleted data.

Public cloud and private cloud services can coexist, working hand in hand to ensure your company's data is safer, easier to manage, and faster to access. You can reap the benefits of each by using the public cloud where it makes sense, but leveraging the cost savings and superior speed of a NAS-based private cloud to pull off many of the same tricks more sensibly.


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Black Hat presentation on TOR suddenly cancelled

A presentation on a low-budget method to unmask users of a popular online privacy tool, TOR, will no longer go ahead at the Black Hat security conference early next month.

The talk was nixed by the legal counsel with Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute after a finding that materials from researcher Alexander Volynkin were not approved for public release, according to a notice on the conference's website.

It's rare but not unprecedented for Black Hat presentations to be cancelled. It was not clear why lawyers felt Volynkin's presentation should not proceed.

Volynkin, a research scientist with the university's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was due to give a talk entitled "You Don't Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget" at the conference, which take places Aug. 6-7 in Last Vegas.

TOR is short for The Onion Router, which is a network of distributed nodes that provide greater privacy by encrypting a person's browsing traffic and routing that traffic through random proxy servers. Although originally developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, it is now maintained by The TOR Project.

TOR is widely used by both cybercriminals and those with legitimate interests in preserving their anonymity, such as dissidents and journalists. Although TOR masks a computer's true IP address, advanced attacks have been developed that undermine its effectiveness.

Some of Volynkin's materials were informally shared with The TOR Project, a nonprofit group that oversees the TOR, wrote Roger Dingledine, a co-founder of the organization, in mailing list post on Monday.

The TOR Project did not request the talk to be canceled, Dingledine wrote. Also, the group has not received slides or descriptions of Volynkin's talk that go beyond an abstract that has now been deleted from Black Hat's website.

Dingledine wrote that The TOR Project is working with CERT to do a coordinated disclosure around Volynkin's findings, possibly later this week. In general, the group encourages researchers to responsibly disclose information about new attacks.

"Researchers who have told us about bugs in the past have found us pretty helpful in fixing issues and generally positive to work with," Dingledine wrote.


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PCWorld

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 21 Juli 2014 | 16.01

Things always live fast and die young in the blink-and-you'll-miss world of consumer technology, but the past week was an especially brutal one for a wide range of devices and services. Killed products topped the headlines on an daily basis—many, but not all, stemming from Microsoft's plan to cut 18,000 jobs, including half (yes, half) of the Nokia staff it so recently acquired.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2455967/dead-devices-and-shuttered-services-techs-no-good-very-bad-week.html#tk.rss_all Hardware Windows Tablets Sat, 19 Jul 2014 04:00:00 -0700 Hayden Dingman Hayden Dingman

"We enjoy killing the player," says Karl Roelofs, a fiendish grin lighting up his face.

Roelofs and his friend Dave Marsh were responsible for creating Shadowgate, one of the earliest graphical point-and-click adventure gamess, for the Macintosh way back in 1987. Now, a quarter of a century later and with the help of some 3,500 Kickstarter backers, Roelofs and Marsh are returning to the dark halls of Castle Shadowgate.

"A few years ago when Doublefine was getting the ground going with retro games on Kickstarter Dave and I looked at each other and said, 'Why not? Why not do Shadowgate right?'" says Roelofs.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2454552/shadowgate-preview-inside-the-modern-rebirth-of-a-point-and-click-adventure-classic.html#tk.rss_all Gaming Games Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:55:13 -0700 Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Microsoft has been screaming "cloud" in many partners' deaf ears for several years, but the company found a more receptive audience at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference.

From CEO Satya Nadella on down, all Microsoft officials at the event told attendees that they need to switch their businesses to the cloud urgently, or else risk obsolescence and market defeat.

"You need to get on this train. This market is being made now," a vehement and adrenaline-drenched Kevin Turner—Microsoft's COO—said during a WPC keynote, adding that Microsoft doesn't have enough partners selling its cloud services anywhere in the world.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2456200/cloud-message-resonating-with-microsoft-partners.html#tk.rss_all Software Cloud & Services Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:52:00 -0700 Brad Chacos Brad Chacos

Chrome evangelist Fran├žois Beaufort gave us a glimpse of the potential future of Chrome OS on Friday, and boy is it ugly.

Maybe that's a bit harsh. The lone screenshot Beaufort provided of the "Athena project" is clearly in its early days; the developer fully warns that the Chromium team is still experimenting with it. "The first draft consists in a collection of windows with some simple window management," he wrote on Google+.

Even so, it's hard to look at.

chrome os athena

The first look at Project Athena for Chrome OS mashes up Material Design with the feel of Apple's Time Machine. (Click to enlarge.)

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]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2455151/google-reveals-athena-a-material-design-inspired-revamp-of-chrome-os.html#tk.rss_all Chromebooks Operating Systems Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:35:13 -0700 Stephen Lawson Stephen Lawson

A breakthrough by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could change the way Web and mobile apps are written and help companies like Facebook keep the cat videos coming.

Their main innovation is a new way to decide when each packet can scurry across a data center to its destination. The software that the MIT team developed, called Fastpass, uses parallel computing to make those decisions almost as soon as the packets arrive at each switch. They think Fastpass may show up in production data centers in about two years.

In today's networks, packets can spend a lot of their time in big, memory-intensive queues, lined up like tourists at Disney World. That's because switches mostly decide on their own when each packet can go on to its destination, and they do so with limited information. Fastpass gives that job to a central server, called an arbiter, that can look at a whole segment of the data center and schedule packets in a more efficient way, according to Hari Balakrishnan, MIT's Fujitsu Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He co-wrote a paper that will be presented at an Association for Computing Machinery conference next month. The co-authors included Facebook researcher Hans Fugal.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2456180/mit-invention-to-speed-up-data-centers-should-cheer-developers.html#tk.rss_all Networking Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:25:17 -0700 Grant Gross Grant Gross

The U.S government can take action to slow the calls in other countries to abandon U.S. tech vendors following revelations about widespread National Security Agency surveillance, some tech representatives said Friday.

Decisions by other governments to move their residents' data away from the U.S. are hurting tech vendors, but Congress can take steps to "rebuild the trust" in the U.S. as a responsible Internet leader, said Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.

Still, other governments will continue to try to use the NSA revelations by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to their advantage, said panelists at a Congressional Internet Caucus discussion on the effect of NSA surveillance on U.S. businesses.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2456163/us-needs-to-restore-trust-following-nsa-revelations-tech-groups-say.html#tk.rss_all Government Networking Security Privacy Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:25:15 -0700 Marc Ferranti Marc Ferranti

With Google, IBM, SAP, Intel and other tech titans reporting earnings this week, the focus is again on mobile and cloud technology. The general trend appears to be that the further a tech vendor has moved away from its legacy desktop-oriented products, the better its earnings are.

IBM has launched ambitious cloud and mobile initiatives—but the resulting products are not quite fully baked. IBM officials themselves acknowledge as much, with IBM CEO Ginni Rometty talking about "positioning ourselves for growth over the long term" in the company's earnings release Thursday.

Earlier this year, IBM announced a global competition to encourage developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by its Watson supercomputer platform. Just this week, IBM and Apple said they are teaming up to create business apps for Apple's mobile phones and tablets.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2456160/wall-street-beat-transition-to-mobile-cloud-hits-tech-earnings.html#tk.rss_all Business Issues Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:20:00 -0700 Agam Shah Agam Shah
Refunds for returned products will be issued in real currency

My sides are so sore from laughing. The video game industry lost its collective minds this week and decided to deliver unto you the most ridiculous set of news possible. Seriously, we've got an infamous dictator suing over misuse of his image, Flappy Bird running on an Apple IIe, and Fred Durst streaming video games on Twitch in between recording vocal tracks for a new Limp Bizkit album. Surely this is the end of days—as evidenced by the reveal of a new Doom game.

Here's all the video game news for the week of July 14. I'll leave out the "fit to print" part this week.

It'll never stop

That Flappy Bird port train just keeps on chugging. Developer Dagen Brock ported the game to the Apple II this week, thereby causing a rift in the space-time continuum and unleashing the hordes of demons waiting just outside the fabric of our world.

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In case the headline didn't tip you off: Yep, you can buy Dell products with Bitcoin now, as Michael Dell himself proudly trumpeted on Twitter earlier today.

System administrators take note: That mobile employee expense app you're building should be every bit as easy to use as Facebook. Oh, and you better deliver it quickly too, because that's how Facebook rolls.

Increasingly, organizations are finding that they need to build mobile apps for their employees in this hyper-connected world. Because employees are probably already used to Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps and other consumer-friendly apps, they'll expect a high degree of polish and performance from their enterprise apps as well.

"As consumers become more familiar with mobile experiences, they are bringing those expectations into the enterprise and expecting the enterprises to move just as fast," said Jeff Haynie, co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator, which offers a set of software and services for building, testing and managing mobile applications.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

I wrote yesterday about a report from Microsoft researchers, which goes against established password security best practices. The new guidance from the Microsoft researchers makes sense to me, because it fits how I handle password management already. However, at least one security expert feels that there is a fatal flaw that makes the new password advice impractical: You.

Almost every aspect of computer security and privacy seems to come back to that one fundamental issue. You—the user—are the weakest link in the security chain. No matter how effective a security process or tool has the potential to be, user error can undermine the whole thing and render the security useless.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Plans to favor some Internet packets over others threaten consumers' hard-won right to use encryption, a digital privacy advocate says.

Activists and tech companies fended off efforts in the U.S. in the 1990s to ban Internet encryption or give the government ways around it, but an even bigger battle over cryptography is brewing now, according to Sascha Meinrath, director of X-Lab, a digital civil-rights think tank launched earlier this year. One of the most contested issues in that battle will be net neutrality, Meinrath said.

The new fight will be even more fierce than the last one, because Internet service providers now see dollars and cents in the details of packets traversing their networks. They want to charge content providers for priority delivery of their packets across the network, something that a controversial Federal Communications Commission proposal could allow under certain conditions. Friday is the filing deadline for the first round of public comments on that plan.

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Editor's note: This article was originally published 7/17/14 but was updated 7/18/14 with NPD's sales numbers for the PlayStation 4.

We're still waiting on the NPD research group to release its monthly console sales estimates later today (see update at bottom --ed.), but Microsoft got so excited last night that it couldn't wait any longer, showering in confetti and those little popper things where you pull on the string and they explode—people are finally buying the Xbox One!

"Since the new Xbox One offering launched on June 9th, we've seen sales of Xbox One more than double in the US, compared to sales in May," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. The "new Xbox One offering" refers, of course, to the model where they stripped out the controversial Kinect peripheral and dropped the price from $500 to a more competitive $400.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

One of the best features of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 is the ability to pin apps to the Taskbar. Until Microsoft comes out with the refreshed Start menu, pinning apps is a must for Windows 8.1 users.

As the go-to location for dealing with and switching between open programs, the Taskbar may be the most clickable location on your desktop. But there's no reason you can't spice it up with a few keyboard tricks to make things a little more efficient.

Pick by number

If you have a bunch of apps pinned to your taskbar, the keyboard offers a quick way to fire up or switch to a program without reaching for your mouse.

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Researchers are gearing up to hack an array of different home routers during a contest next month at the Defcon 22 security conference.

The contest is called SOHOpelessly Broken—a nod to the small office/home office space targeted by the products—and follows a growing number of large scale attacks this year against routers and other home embedded systems.

The competition is organized by security consultancy firm Independent Security Evaluators and advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and will have two separate challenges.

The first challenge, known as Track 0, will require researchers to demonstrate exploits for previously unknown, or zero-day, vulnerabilities in a number of popular off-the-shelf consumer wireless routers.

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As Microsoft looks to slim down with layoffs and restructuring, Nokia is spinning MixRadio into a separate steaming music company.

While the app will still come preloaded on Windows Phones, it will also come to Android and iOS, according to The Guardian. There's no word on when the spin-off will be finalized, or when the apps will become available on other platforms.

It's also unclear whether MixRadio will look to include ads in its app now that it's no longer an exclusive perk for Nokia phone owners. Currently, the app is ad-free, but users can get higher audio quality, offline listening and unlimited song skipping for $4 per month.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2455962/downsizing-microsoft-to-spin-off-nokias-mixradio-music-service.html#tk.rss_all Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:00:00 -0700 Ian Paul Ian Paul

Dropbox is a very popular cloud storage service, but NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is no fan. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Snowden called Dropbox a "targeted, wannabe PRISM partner" that is "very hostile to privacy."

Snowden also isn't happy about Dropbox's decision in April to add former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to its Board of Directors. Snowden called Rice "probably the most anti-privacy official you can imagine."

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]]> http://www.pcworld.com/article/2455215/edward-snowden-dropbox-is-hostile-to-privacy.html#tk.rss_all Privacy Storage Cloud & Services Fri, 18 Jul 2014 07:23:00 -0700 Jared Newman Jared Newman Amazon's new subscription e-book plan includes more than 600,000 titles, but no major publishers. http://www.techhive.com/article/2455114/kindle-unlimited-launches-600-000-all-you-can-read-e-books-for-10-per-month.html#tk.rss_all Books software Fri, 18 Jul 2014 07:05:11 -0700 Lucian Constantin Lucian Constantin

Romanian and French authorities have dismantled a cybercriminal network that infected computers at money transfer outlets across Europe and used them to perform illegal transactions.

The gang was also involved in the theft of credit card details through skimming, credit card cloning, money laundering and drug trafficking, Europol announced Thursday.

The gang, which was composed mostly of Romanian citizens, infected computers at copy shops that also operated as money transfer franchises in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the U.K. and other European countries. No details were released about how the computers were infected, but Europol said that the attackers used a remote access Trojan (RAT) program.

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