Technology News

Patent Trolls On the Run But Not Vanquished Yet

(22 minutes ago)
snydeq writes Strong legislation that will weaken the ability of the trolls to shake down innovators is likely to pass Congress, but more should be done, writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. "The Innovation Act isn't an ideal fix for the program patent system. But provisions in the proposed law, like one that will make trolls pay legal costs if their claims are rejected, will remove a good deal of the risk that smaller companies face when they decide to resist a spurious lawsuit," Snyder writes. That said, "You'd have to be wildly optimistic to think that software patents will be abolished. Although the EFF's proposals call for the idea to be studied, [EFF attorney Daniel] Nazer doesn't expect it to happen; he instead advocates several reforms not contained in the Innovation Act." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter makes reporting trolls easier, cracks down on repeat offenders

(22 minutes ago)
In the ongoing battle agains trolls, abusive users and other rule-breakers, Twitter has expanded how it can attempt to squash tweet-based troubles. If someone is impersonating another through a Twitter account, or leaking sensitive personal data, any...

Facebook adds custom entry to gender selection list, with free-form field for those who don't identify with pre-set options (Sean O'Kane/The Verge)

(40 minutes ago)
Sean O'Kane / The Verge:Facebook adds custom entry to gender selection list, with free-form field for those who don't identify with pre-set options  —  Facebook stops defining gender for its users  —  Last year Facebook took a socially responsible step forward when it allowed users to choose from preset custom genders like “cisgender” or “transgender.”

Google exec hints at Photos, Hangouts and G+ split (Richard Lawler/Engadget)

(58 minutes ago)
Richard Lawler / Engadget:Google exec hints at Photos, Hangouts and G+ split  —  Rumors have long suggested that Google might separate the parts of Google+ that people have been most interested in — photos and messaging / Hangouts — away from the social network's main stream.  Now it appears that Sundar Pichai agrees …

Google Ventures and Michael Dell invest $60M in Kobalt, which handles music publishing rights (Russ Mitchell/Los Angeles Times)

(One hour ago)
Russ Mitchell / Los Angeles Times:Google Ventures and Michael Dell invest $60M in Kobalt, which handles music publishing rights  —  Music royalty hunter Kobalt wins Google funding  —  Since the music industry began in the early 20th century, musicians and songwriters have complained about paltry royalty payments for their creations.

Privacy advocates want the FTC to investigate Samsung's smart TVs

(One hour ago)
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wasn't convinced when Samsung explained that its smart TVs aren't actually eavesdropping on people. In fact, the privacy group has just asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the Sou...

Twenty20, formerly Instacanvas, exits beta and raises $8M series A led by Canaan; launches photo licensing service with 45M crowdsourced images (Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch)

(2 hours ago)
Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:Twenty20, formerly Instacanvas, exits beta and raises $8M series A led by Canaan; launches photo licensing service with 45M crowdsourced images  —  Twenty20 Raises $8M, Launches Crowdsourced Photo-Licensing Service  —  Twenty20, the startup formerly known as Instacanvas …

Google pays $25M for top level domain .app, the most expensive TLD ever sold (Jillian D'Onfro/Business Insider)

(2 hours ago)
Jillian D'Onfro / Business Insider:Google pays $25M for top level domain .app, the most expensive TLD ever sold  —  Google just paid $25 million to buy the entire ‘.app’ web domain  —  Google just paid $25 million for exclusive rights to the “.app” top-level web domain.  —  Google decided to apply for new top-level domains …

Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch

(2 hours ago)
Mark Wilson writes A few months ago Twitter was criticized for teaming up with suicide prevention charity Samaritans to automatically monitor for key words and phrases that could indicate that someone was struggling to cope with life. Despite the privacy concerns that surrounded Samaritans Radar, Facebook has decided that it is going to launch a similar program in a bid to prevent suicides. Working with mental health organizations including Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Save.org, Facebook aims to provide greater help and support for anyone considering suicide or self-harm. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Spotify adds lyrics to its desktop player, while phasing out App Finder (Stuart Dredge/Music Ally)

(3 hours ago)
Stuart Dredge / Music Ally:Spotify adds lyrics to its desktop player, while phasing out App Finder  —  Spotify signalled some time ago that it was winding down its “App Finder” feature for third-party apps within its desktop software.  Now it's removing the section altogether, while adding one of its most popular apps - Musixmatch's lyrics - as a core feature.

Harrison Ford will return in 'Blade Runner' sequel

(3 hours ago)
Need more good news after today's net neutrality ruling? Deadline and Variety report it has been announced that Harrison Ford will return to the role of Rick Deckard in the Blade Runner sequel that's currently in the works. Ridley Scott is producing ...

'Fable' going free-to-play on Xbox One and Windows 10

(3 hours ago)
Now you can add "price" alongside "gameplay" to the list of aspects that separates Fable Legends from its forebears. That's because the game's launching as a free-to-play title on Windows 10 and gratis with an Xbox Live Gold subscription on Xbox One....

Filmmakers Focus on Aerospace Guru Burt Rutan

(3 hours ago)
The filmmakers who traced the rise of SpaceShipOne are turning their focus to its designer's next high-flying project, and looking for a little help.

'Ride-share' and 'unboxing' added to Oxford dictionary

(4 hours ago)
Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft looking to promote the "sharing" aspect of their service have scored a victory of sorts.

Robot Helps Student Stay In Class

(4 hours ago)
A student in Mercer County, Pennsylvania is using a robot to attend high school while he recovers from injuries suffered in a car accident. WFMJ's Derek Steyer reports.

Lack of notifications on password changes and slow customer service put Venmo users at risk for fraud (Alison Griswold/Slate)

(4 hours ago)
Alison Griswold / Slate:Lack of notifications on password changes and slow customer service put Venmo users at risk for fraud  —  Venmo Money, Venmo Problems  —  Two twentysomethings hop out of a cab.  They get dinner.  They grab drinks at a bar.  Neither stops to worry about splitting the tab.  “Just Venmo me,” one says.

IBM targets $40 billion in cloud, other growth areas by 2018

(4 hours ago)
(Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp , which ruled computing in the age of the mainframe, is targeting $40 billion in annual revenue from the cloud, big data, security and other growth areas by 2018.

Daily Roundup: Net neutrality wins, digital brothels and more!

(4 hours ago)
In today's news, the FCC approved its net neutrality plan, a "digital brothel" lets people have sex through the internet and Pebble smashes its own crowdfunding records. Read about all the top stories in today's Daily Roundup....

For Attensity's BI parsing tool, emoticons are no problem

(4 hours ago)
For enterprises seeking to monitor the conversations going on about them in the world, the sheer volume of data is just the beginning of the challenge. Even more daunting is making sense of it all -- a task that can test the resources of the largest organization.

Webnic Registrar Blamed for Hijack of Lenovo, Google Domains (Brian Krebs/Krebs on Security)

(4 hours ago)
Brian Krebs / Krebs on Security:Webnic Registrar Blamed for Hijack of Lenovo, Google Domains  —  Two days ago, attackers allegedly associated with the fame-seeking group Lizard Squad briefly hijacked Google's Vietnam domain (google.com.vn).  On Wednesday, Lenovo.com was similarly attacked.

Net neutrality's next chapter: How experts saw today's milestone and next steps (Stacey Higginbotham/Gigaom)

(4 hours ago)
Stacey Higginbotham / Gigaom:Net neutrality's next chapter: How experts saw today's milestone and next steps  —  Pardon me while I catch my breath after all the celebratory dancing I've been doing in the wake of the FCC's historic vote to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act in order to preserve true network neutrality.

Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

(4 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes I have an old Compaq Contura Aero laptop from the nineties (20 Mhz, 12 Mb RAM, Windows 3.11, 16-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT, floppy) with 160 Mb drive that I would want to copy in full to a newer machine. The floppies are so unreliable — between Aero's PCMCIA floppy drive and USB floppy disk drive — that it is a total nightmare to try and do it; it just doesn't work. If that option is excluded, what else can I do? I have another old laptop with Windows XP (32-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT) that could be used; all other machines are too new and lack ports. Will be grateful for any ideas. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain

(4 hours ago)
sciencehabit writes Last week, researchers expanded the size of the mouse brain by giving rodents a piece of human DNA. Now another team has topped that feat, pinpointing a human gene that not only grows the mouse brain but also gives it the distinctive folds found in primate brains. The work suggests that scientists are finally beginning to unravel some of the evolutionary steps that boosted the cognitive powers of our species. "This study represents a major milestone in our understanding of the developmental emergence of human uniqueness," says Victor Borrell Franco, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, Spain, who was not involved with the work. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scientists puzzled by 'bright spots' on surface of dwarf planet Ceres

(4 hours ago)
As NASA's Dawn spacecraft approaches orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres, researchers aren't sure what's causing the "bright spots" on its surface. The imaging orbiter snapped the above picture from 29,000 miles (46,000 km) away just last week, but u...

Facebook launches new suicide prevention features linking users posting troubling messages to trained experts (Kevin McSpadden/TIME)

(5 hours ago)
Kevin McSpadden / TIME:Facebook launches new suicide prevention features linking users posting troubling messages to trained experts  —  How Facebook Is Helping Suicidal People  —  Facebook is going to give timelier help to users who post updates suggesting thoughts of suicide, the company announced on Wednesday.

Twitter adds more reporting tools to curb abuse and improve safety

(5 hours ago)
Twitter has added new reporting tools to help it fight abuse and protect users on its site.

IBM to pump $4 billion into cloud, mobile and analytics

(5 hours ago)
IBM will dedicate $4 billion in spending this year to the cloud, analytics and mobile technologies, as it struggles with seismic shifts that are changing the computing landscape it once dominated,

Robear is a robot bear that can care for the elderly

(5 hours ago)
It's 2024. An older Japanese gentleman wants to watch the International Space Station's closing ceremony, but he can't get out of bed. No problem! All he has to do is call Robear to help him get up. Yes, that's his caregiver's name, but you see, Robe...

Google makes mobile-friendliness a ranking signal, ranks apps with indexed deep links higher (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)

(6 hours ago)
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:Google makes mobile-friendliness a ranking signal, ranks apps with indexed deep links higher  —  Google Makes “Mobile-Friendliness” A Ranking Signal Worldwide, Boosts Indexed Apps In Search Results  —  Google today announced two notable changes that will affect the rankings of search results …

OPSEC For Activists, Because Encryption Is No Guarantee

(6 hours ago)
Nicola Hahn writes: "In the wake of the Snowden revelations strong encryption has been promoted by organizations like The Intercept and Freedom of the Press Foundation as a solution for safeguarding privacy against the encroachment of Big Brother. Even President Obama acknowledges that "there's no scenario in which we don't want really strong encryption." Yet the public record shows that over the years the NSA has honed its ability to steal encryption keys. Recent reports about the compromise of Gemalto's network and sophisticated firmware manipulation programs by the Office of Tailored Access Operations underscore this reality. The inconvenient truth is that the current cyber self-defense formulas being presented are conspicuously incomplete. Security tools can and will fail. And when they do, what then? It's called Operational Security (OPSEC), a topic that hasn't received much coverage — but it should. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Qualcomm preps technology to reduce burden on mobile networks

(6 hours ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm wants wireless carriers to set up new technology that would offer cellphone users better reception in places like subway tunnels and shopping malls.

3D Printers Making Inroads In Kitchens

(6 hours ago)
mpicpp sends an article from Fortune about the tiny industry springing up around food-related 3D printing. While such devices are still too expensive and too special-purpose for home kitchens, professionals in restaurants and large cafeterias are figuring out ways they can automate certain time-intensive tasks. For example, pasta: "If the user is making a recipe for ravioli, for instance, the [device] prints the bottom layer of dough, the filling and the top dough layer in subsequent steps. It reduces a lengthy recipe to two minutes construction time and ensures that no one has to clean a countertop caked with leftover dough and flour." The companies developing these 3D printers hope they'll be this generation's version of the microwave, gradually finding a use in almost every kitchen. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Aereo assets bring less than $2M at auction, firm hoped for $4M-$31.2M; TiVo buys trademark, customer lists, certain other assets (Alex Barinka/Bloomberg Business)

(6 hours ago)
Alex Barinka / Bloomberg Business:Aereo assets bring less than $2M at auction, firm hoped for $4M-$31.2M; TiVo buys trademark, customer lists, certain other assets  —  Aereo's Assets Sold for Peanuts at Bankruptcy Auction  —  Don't Miss Out —  (Bloomberg) — Aereo Inc., the online-TV service backed by Barry Diller …

How much does this game cost? Depends on the temperature

(6 hours ago)
Finally, a game where the pricing structure is as clever as its mechanics. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is an adorable puzzle game about a monster trying to make snowmen, from established puzzle-game designer Alan Hazelden, co-creator Benjamin Dav...

Meet Zipperbot, the Robot Who Zips Zippers

(7 hours ago)
This is Zipperbot, the world's only robotic zipper zipper-uper. Zipperbot will zip your zippers for you. And, joking aside, the robot, created at a lab at MIT, will be a big help to people with disabilities.

Apple to Live Stream 'Spring Forward' Apple Watch Event on March 9 (Juli Clover/MacRumors)

(7 hours ago)
Juli Clover / MacRumors:Apple to Live Stream ‘Spring Forward’ Apple Watch Event on March 9  —  Apple today updated its website to notify users that it plans to live stream its Monday, March 9 media event that will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.  —  The event will be broadcast …

Facebook lets you specify any gender you want

(7 hours ago)
Facebook already has a range of gender options for those who don't fit neatly into male/female categories, but it just took that accommodation one step further. Much like Google, Facebook now lets you specify any gender you want -- you're not limited...

Google shares code to help server software digest HTTP/2

(7 hours ago)
Potentially offering a boost for web server software worldwide, Google has released as open source a framework for HTTP/2, the newly updated standard for transmitting Web pages and Web applications over the Internet.

Microsoft's Squad Watch wants to be Glympse for Windows Phone, but isn't

(7 hours ago)
Location sharing may not grab your attention like a post on Facebook or Twitter, but it's a darn useful utility for keeping track of family members and friends. Microsoft's Squad Watch wants to be that app for Windows Phone, but at this stage, it's not.

Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

(7 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has put up a post about explaining what they wanted to accomplish when they started working on Project Spartan, the new web browser that will ship with Windows 10. They say some things you wouldn't expect to hear from Microsoft: "We needed a plan to make it easy for Web developers to build compatible sites regardless of which browser they develop first for. We needed a plan which ensured that our customers have a good experience regardless of whether they browse the head or tail of the Web. We needed a plan which gave enterprise customers a highly backward compatible browser regardless of how quickly we pushed forward with modern HTML5 features." They also explain how they decided against using WebKit so they wouldn't contribute to "a monoculture on the Web." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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