Technology News

Tesco taps Kobo to offer Binkbox Books libraries when it closes

(2 days ago)
Unlike Blinkbox Movies and Blinkbox Music, Tesco hasn't found a buyer for its underperforming Blinkbox Books service. We expected the e-book platform to quietly fade into the night, along with customers' purchases, but it seems Tesco has a parting gi...

First 'Threes', now 'Monument Valley': knockoff developer strikes again

(2 days ago)
Did you play Monument Valley (above left), the gorgeous perspective-based puzzler from last year? It costs $4 on Google Play / iTunes, and is one of 2014's best games. And now you can get it for free. Sort of. You see, Ketchapp, the studio behind Thr...

Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

(2 days ago)
Jason Koebler writes: Leslie Caldwell, an assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said Tuesday that the department is "very concerned" by the Google's and Apple's decision to automatically encrypt all data on Android and iOS devices. "We understand the value of encryption and the importance of security," she said. "But we're very concerned they not lead to the creation of what I would call a 'zone of lawlessness,' where there's evidence that we could have lawful access through a court order that we're prohibited from getting because of a company's technological choices. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

We May Have Jupiter To Thank For the Nitrogen In Earth's Atmosphere

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. It's also the 4th most abundant element in the human body. But where did all the nitrogen on Earth come from? Scientists aren't sure, but they have a new theory. Back when the solar system was just a protoplanetary disk, the ice orbiting the early Sun included ammonia, which has a nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms. But there needed to be a way for the nitrogen to get to the developing Earth. That's where Jupiter comes in. During its theorized Grand Tack, where it plunged into the inner solar system and then retreated outward again, it created shock waves in the dust and ice cloud surrounding the sun. These shock waves caused gentle heating of the ammonia ice, which allowed it to melt and react with chromium-bearing metal to form a mineral called carlsbergite. New research (abstract) suggests this mineral was then present when the Earth's accretion happened, supplying much of the nitrogen we would eventually need for life. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

World's largest DDoS attack reached 400Gbps, says Arbor Networks (John E Dunn/Techworld.com)

(2 days ago)
John E Dunn / Techworld.com:World's largest DDoS attack reached 400Gbps, says Arbor Networks  —  NTP amplification fuelling era of super-massive DDoS  —  Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google Plus Email this article  —  Some time in December 2014 an unnamed ISP experienced an NTP reflection DDoS attack that peaked …

Snowden files show Canada spy agency runs global Internet watch: CBC

(2 days ago)
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's electronic spy agency has been intercepting and analyzing data on up to 15 million file downloads a day as part of a global surveillance program, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Spotify and Sony team up to launch Playstation streaming music service, closing Music Unlimited (Eric Lempel/PlayStation.Blog)

(2 days ago)
Eric Lempel / PlayStation.Blog:Spotify and Sony team up to launch Playstation streaming music service, closing Music Unlimited  —  PlayStation, Meet Spotify  —  Hello everyone!  I'm thrilled today to introduce a new music destination called PlayStation Music, with Spotify as the exclusive partner.

'Harry Potter' comes to Oyster's all-you-can-read book service

(2 days ago)
If you're the sort of Harry Potter fan who can't help but read the series again and again, Oyster has a treat in store. The all-you-can-read subscription service has teamed up with Pottermore to carry all of the Harry Potter books, including the Hogw...

PlayStation is getting a Spotify-powered music service, closing Music Unlimited

(2 days ago)
Sony today revealed PlayStation Music, a new Spotify-powered music service coming to PlayStation 3, 4 and "Xperia smartphones and tablets" this spring. The service will outright replace Music Unlimited, the service that Sony previously implemented ac...

Temporary sales ban hits SanDisk's ULLtraDIMM server SSD business

(2 days ago)
The headline and second paragraph of the story "Temporary sales ban hits SanDisk's SSD server business," posted Jan. 13, have been corrected to more accurately characterize the SanDisk products affected by a court injunction. The affected products are its ULLtraDIMM SSDs.

The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

(2 days ago)
HughPickens.com writes: Five years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and insisted that it would do many things better than either a laptop or a smartphone. Will Oremus writes at Future Tense that by most standards, the iPad has been a success, and the tablet has indeed emerged as a third category of computing device. But there's another way of looking at the iPad. According to Oremus, Jobs was right to leave out the productivity features and go big on the simple tactile pleasure of holding the Internet in your hands. But for all its popularity and appeal, the iPad never has quite cleared the bar Jobs set for it, which was to be "far better" at some key tasks than a laptop or a smartphone. The iPad may have been "far better" when it was first released, but smartphones have come a long way. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and their Android equivalents are now convenient enough for most mobile computing tasks that there's no need to carry around a tablet as well. That helps explain why iPad sales have plateaued, rather than continuing to ascend to the stratospheric levels of the iPhone. "The iPad remains an impressive machine. But it also remains a luxury item rather than a necessity," concludes Oremus. "Again, by most standards, it is a major success. Just not by the high standards that Jobs himself set for it five years ago." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook expands Conversion Lift tool that helps measure ad impact on online and offline sales to any advertiser who works directly with Facebook (Allison Schiff/AdExchanger)

(2 days ago)
Allison Schiff / AdExchanger:Facebook expands Conversion Lift tool that helps measure ad impact on online and offline sales to any advertiser who works directly with Facebook  —  Facebook Expands Its Conversion Lift Tool, Reviles Last-Click  —  Just because someone didn't click on an ad doesn't mean that ad didn't have an effect.

DJI no longer lets you fly its drones in Washington, DC

(2 days ago)
'DJI really, really doesn't want to see its drones in the news for the wrong reasons. Just a day after the world learned that one of its robotic vehicles crash-landed at the White House, the company is pushing out a "mandatory" firmware update for ...

Why Snapchat Update Makes Some Teens Freak Out

(2 days ago)
Snapchat says goodbye to the "best friends" stalking feature -- for now.

Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Immediately following the Charlie Hebdo attack, Mark Zuckerberg said, "... this is what we all need to reject — a group of extremists trying to silence the voices and opinions of everyone else around the world. I won't let that happen on Facebook. I'm committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear of violence." Now, Facebook has begun censoring images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey. According to the Washington post, "It's an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. It's also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerberg's free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebook's record doesn't entirely back it up." To be fair to Zuckerberg and Facebook, the company must obey the law of any country in which it operates. But it stands in stark contrast to the principles espoused by its founder. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Happy 'Data Privacy Day,' Now Lock Your Cellphone

(2 days ago)
No one plans to lose their cellphone, but if it happens and the phone isn't locked, the consequences can be devastating.

French law would make Google and Facebook 'accomplices' to hate speech

(2 days ago)
France is eying new laws that would make the likes of Facebook and Google accountable for hosting extremist messages. As Bloomberg tells it, the new talk is a direct response to terrorist attacks from earlier this month, and should the draft law pass...

Cisco integration gives Samsung Knox users more options for secure connectivity

(2 days ago)
Samsung Electronics smartphones and tablets protected using the company's Knox security technology have been integrated with VPNs from Cisco Systems, giving enterprises more options for communicating securely.

Stop using your birthday, start using one of these password manager apps

(2 days ago)
Sure, you could go without a password manager--if you want to try to remember all of your super-secure passwords and login credentials on your own, or if you live dangerously and use the same password for all of your accounts. But let's get real: There's no reason to do that, not when there are so many excellent password managers out there that can store passwords securely for you, and generate them, too.

The 6 things you need to know about Apple's best quarter ever

(2 days ago)
Apple made all the money last quarter--its $18 billion in profit is not only the best quarter Apple's ever had, it's the best quarter any company has ever had, and a jaw-dropping 74.5 million iPhones sold is a big reason why. But record-shattering $74.6 billion revenues weren't the most interesting part of Tuesday's Q1 2015 earnings conference call, in which Tim Cook took questions from analysts about the rest of Apple's plan for success, and how to keep this momentum going.

Head of games leaves Angry Birds company Rovio

(2 days ago)
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's Rovio and the head of its games operation, Jami Laes, have parted company as the business behind Angry Birds continues to grapple with an increasingly competitive mobile games market.

Security-Focused BlackPhone Was Vulnerable To Simple Text Message Bug

(2 days ago)
mask.of.sanity sends this report from El Reg: The maker of BlackPhone – a mobile marketed as offering unusually high levels of security – has patched a critical vulnerability that allows hackers to run malicious code on the handsets. Attackers need little more than a phone number to send a message that can compromise the devices via the Silent Text application. The impact of the flaw is troubling because BlackPhone attracts what hackers see as high-value victims: those willing to invest AU$765 (£415, $630) in a phone that claims to put security above form and features may well have valuable calls and texts to hide from eavesdroppers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Rings 200 times as large as Saturn's

(2 days ago)
In 1610, after he built his telescope, Galileo Galilei first spotted enormous Saturn's gigantic rings. More than 400 years later, astronomers have in a sense dwarfed that discovery with a similar first.

Canada's electronic spy agency tracks millions of online movie, photo, music, and other downloads worldwide (CBC News)

(2 days ago)
CBC News:Canada's electronic spy agency tracks millions of online movie, photo, music, and other downloads worldwide  —  CSE tracks millions of downloads daily: Snowden documents  —  Global sites for sharing movies, photos, music targeted in mass anti-terror surveillance

Comcast Pays Overdue Fees, Offers Freebies For TWC Merger Approval

(2 days ago)
WheezyJoe writes: In seeking more support for its mega-merger with Time-Warner Cable, Comcast has been going across the country giving local governments a chance to ask for favors in exchange for approving a franchise transfer. In Minneapolis, this turned up an unpaid bill of $40,000 in overdue franchise fees, so Comcast will have to pay the city money it already owed in order to get the franchise transfer. Comcast will also throw in $50,000 worth of free service and equipment. "Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years as part of a package of concessions (PDF) the city wrung out of Comcast in exchange for blessing its proposed merger with fellow cable giant Time Warner," Minnesota Public Radio reported. The article notes that getting any kind of refund out of a cable company is not easy. Part of the deal with Minneapolis involves the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections that will serve 2.5 million customers in the Midwest and Southeast, including Minnesota. After the deal, Comcast's franchises in those areas would be transferred to GreatLand. Such goodwill concessions may seem impressive as Comcast seeks to foster goodwill, but one wonders how Comcast/Time Warner will behave after the merger. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Graffiti and satellites combine for a massive animated GIF

(2 days ago)
Look, it isn't easy making GIFs on the computer without the right applications, so it's giving us a headache thinking of the work that goes into each of these graffiti-turned-GIFs by an artist named INSA. Especially the one you see above, because the...

KKR makes Israel tech investment in web analytics firm ClickTale

(2 days ago)
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - ClickTale, whose software enables website owners to see how people behave on their sites, has raised $35 million in a funding round led by KKR , marking the U.S. private equity firm's first investment in Israel's tech sector.

Uber works out how to insure its drivers between fares

(2 days ago)
Uber has inked a deal with insurer Metromile that addresses a huge question mark: whether its drivers are sufficiently insured between fares. Until now, the ridesharing firm had been giving US drivers $1 million in commercial liability coverage when ...

Uber, Lyft face crucial courtroom test over driver benefits

(2 days ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Smartphone-enabled car services Uber and Lyft head to court this week to resolve a critical question for Silicon Valley's sharing economy: whether their drivers are independent contractors or employees.

Facebook to sell real-time Super Bowl ads, taking on Twitter

(2 days ago)
(Reuters) - This Super Bowl Facebook is taking a page from Twitter's playbook, for the first time during a football championship selling ads that target people based on what they are talking about in real time.

'World of Warcraft' is getting a selfie camera -- don't tell Leeroy Jenkins

(2 days ago)
Okay, so at last count World of Warcraft had a Pokémon clone built into it, an in-game web browser of sorts and even a tribute to the late Robin Williams. Now it has another way to distract you as the epic battle between the Horde and Alliance rages ...

Your PS Vita is about to get slightly less useful

(2 days ago)
If you regularly use the Maps and YouTube apps on your PlayStation Vita, please raise a hand. If you'd be mightily disappointed if those were to disappear from the portable console, keep your hand up and someone will bring you a tissue. That's becaus...

Apple takes high road in China smartphone standoff with Xiaomi

(2 days ago)
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Apple Inc is steering clear of Chinese rival Xiaomi Inc's [XTC.UL] low-price online strategy, ramping up store openings in China to harness its premium edge and fend off the fast-growing No.3 global smartphone maker.

How One Small Company Blocked 15.1 Million Robocalls Last Year

(2 days ago)
TechCurmudgeon sends this excerpt from an article at Wired: Aaron Foss won a $25,000 cash prize from the Federal Trade Commission for figuring out how eliminate all those annoying robocalls that dial into your phone from a world of sleazy marketers. ... Using a little telephone hackery, Foss found a way of blocking spammers while still allowing the emergency alert service and other legitimate entities to call in bulk. Basically, he re-routed all calls through a service that would check them against a whitelist of legitimate operations and a blacklist of spammers, and this little trick was so effective, he soon parlayed it into a modest business. Last year, his service, called Nomorobo, blocked 15.1 million robocalls . Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Super Smash Bros.' and exchange rates help keep Nintendo in profit

(2 days ago)
Nintendo's slow and arduous journey back to financial prosperity continued today with the release of its latest financial results. The company posted a second consecutive quarterly profit in its financial Q3, which counts sales from September through...

Sony to ax another 1,000 workers in smartphone segment (Nikkei)

(2 days ago)
Nikkei:Sony to ax another 1,000 workers in smartphone segment  —  TOKYO — Sony plans to cut an additional 1,000 employees in its smartphone business, mainly in Europe and China, under an effort to bring the segment into the black.  —  The Japanese electronics giant had announced last October …

Amazon slashes the cost of its Fire Phone to £99

(2 days ago)
Amazon's Fire Phone has been a huge flop, and it seems like the company is just about ready to throw in the towel. Following multiple sales in the US, Amazon has dropped the price of its first smartphone by up to 75 percent in the UK. That puts the 3...

Basis' Peak fitness watch now gets notifications from your phone

(2 days ago)
A little later than promised, Basis' Peak fitness tracker behaves more like the smartwatch it arguably should have been all along. Grab a newly released update for the wearable and it'll give you a heads-up on calls, meetings and messages from your A...

Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

(2 days ago)
jmcbain writes: Yesterday, Apple reported its financial results for the quarter ending December 27, 2014. The company posted $18 billion in profit (on $74 billion in revenue), the largest quarterly profit by any company, ever. The previous record was $16 billion by Russia's Gazprom (the largest natural gas extractor in the world) in 2011. Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones last quarter, along with 5.5 million Macs and 21.4 million iPads. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nintendo halves operating profit view on slack 3DS sales; weak yen lifts net profit

(2 days ago)
TOKYO/OSAKA (Reuters) - Struggling Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co warned it won't make its annual operating profit target due to slack sales of its 3DS handheld game consoles, though the yen's current weakness means overseas sales will boost net profit.
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