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Friday, December 26, 2014

The best Chromebook of 2014 | ITworld

"So which is the best? It's clearly the Toshiba Chromebook 2. For its specs, overall build and features, you can't do better. At $330, it's quite affordable -- and the 13.3-inch 1080p IPS screen is a beautiful display that you'd expect from a much more expensive machine. (Note: There are two versions of the Toshiba Chromebook 2, a $249 version with a 1366 x 768 screen, and the 1920 x 1080-pixel 1080p version for $330. The more expensive one is the one to buy.) Not only are the colors bright and bold, but it has a wide viewing angle. This is a Chromebook that you can truly use for watching videos as well as for work.

It's also got great Skullcandy speakers that you certainly don't expect on a Chromebook, and certainly not one in the low $300 range. So it's great for listening to music as well as watching videos.

Unlike many other Chrombooks, it comes with a full 4GB of RAM, which is important because its processor, like many Chromebook processors, won't knock your socks off. But the 4 GB of RAM gives the machine enough oomph to make up for that."

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Retina 5K iMac: Powerful Proof of the PC Renaissance -

"Enter Apple and the new iMac it unveiled in the fall, an expensive desktop with a beautiful, high-resolution screen. If Chromebooks are cars, the new iMac is the world’s best truck. It’s a device optimized for professionals, not casual users, and it blazes a path forward for the once-beleaguered PC industry.

Chromebooks run an operating system based on Google’s Chrome web browser, and their low prices have helped make them a hit.
As phones and tablets become more powerful and useful, and as they begin to occupy more of our time, PC manufacturers will have to create computers that take advantage of PCs’ shape, size and power. They’ll have to find new features that can’t be mimicked by smartphones. With a display unmatched by any other computing device you can buy today, the new iMac does just that. That’s why, of the dozens of new tech devices I tried this year, it was my favorite."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Apple Wins Decade-Old ITunes Suit -

" OAKLAND, Calif. — A jury took about three hours to reject an antitrust lawsuit — 10 years in the making — that accused Apple of using a software update to secure a monopoly over the digital music market.

The eight-member jury in federal court here unanimously determined that Apple had, in fact, used an update of the iTunes software that it issued eight years ago to deliver genuine improvements for iPods sold between 2006 and 2009. "

Apple Wins Decade-Old ITunes Suit -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: “The Science of Interstellar” | Ricochet

"The Science of Interstellar by Kip ThorneChristopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar was eagerly awaited by science fiction enthusiasts who, having been sorely disappointed so many times by movies that crossed the line into fantasy by making up entirely implausible things to move the plot along, hoped that this effort would live up to its promise of getting the science (mostly) right and employing scientifically plausible speculation where our present knowledge is incomplete.

The author of the present book is one of the most eminent physicists working in the field of general relativity (Einstein’s theory of gravitation) and a pioneer in exploring the exotic strong field regime of the theory, including black holes, wormholes, and gravitational radiation. Prof. Thorne was involved in the project which became Interstellar from its inception, and worked closely with the screenwriters, director, and visual effects team to get the science right. Some of the scenes in the movie, such as the visual appearance of orbiting a rotating black hole, have never been rendered accurately before, and are based upon original work by Thorne in computing light paths through spacetime in its vicinity which will be published as professional papers."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Leaving Computers On Helps Them Last Longer - Scientific American

Amazon Kindle Voyage review: the best way to read since books - Features - Gadgets and Tech - The Independent

5his is a wonderful device,  I love it.  "The display on the Voyage is sensational, easily the best I’ve seen on an ebook reader. At 300 pixels per inch, it’s the highest-resolution eink screen yet, beating even the Kobo Aura HD. That’s still not quite as pin-sharp as ink on paper, but it’s pretty good.

And unlike paper, this ereader incorporates Amazon’s Paperwhite technology. Where conventional colour tablets have backlights which are tiring on the eyes after a while, this has a frontlight that comes from one side instead of shining in your eyes. Even better, there’s an auto brightness setting which measures the ambient light and adjusts the brightness accordingly. This works well and the light is reasonably power-stingy – even with the light on the battery lasts a good month between charges.
Like other eink readers, it has the considerable advantage over backlit colour screens that it’s easy to read in bright sunlight, even through sunglasses."

Monday, December 08, 2014

'Cosmos' host Neil deGrasse Tyson's scope set on scientific literacy

"Well, I don't have to imagine what it is. There have been international tests to assess where our students are on various objective scales. And among industrialized nations we're consistently near the bottom of the list in every way that matters. That's just the fact. So the next question is: Does being so low on those lists come with consequences that matter...We've been very economically competitive even through several decades of these very low scores so maybe the scores are not the best indicator of what we are or what we will become in the future.

"However, some things are happening. I think we've lost our exploratory mojo. So, for example, my hat's off to the European Space Agency for landing a space probe on a comet. That is a space feat without precedent. But I grew up in an era when NASA was doing all of the space feats that had no precedent. So little signs like this are indicators that we are not on the frontier anymore. The Higgs boson, which received banner headlines in The New York Times, was discovered in Switzerland in a particle accelerator built by a European collaboration. And we would have discovered it back in the 1990s because we had a particle accelerator (partially built, then canceled by Congress)."

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The only things that can stop the Chromebook are you and Google | News | TechRadar

" Home News by technology The only things that can stop the Chromebook are you and Google
The only things that can stop the Chromebook are you and Google
OPINION It's not the product, it's the perception

By Chris Phin  November 30th 2014

The only things that can stop the Chromebook are you and Google
The Chromebook are still waiting for the world to notice them
Related stories
Google unveils Classroom, its new learning management system
Chromebook sales to surpass 5m units in 2014, says Gartner
Seven new Android apps are now compatible with Chrome OS
For a long time, Chromebooks seemed like they would fizzle, and for just the reasons you might expect. People called them under-powered, said they didn't run the software they depended on, and that there was just no compelling reason to buy one over a cheap Windows or Linux laptop. For a while, we got one Chromebook at a time, made by different manufacturers - not unlike how Google's Nexus brand is applied to smartphones and tablets made by a succession of manufacturers.
But little by little, the Chromebook has gained momentum and diversified, and now ABI Research forecasts that a little over four million Chromebooks will be sold this year (compared to 300m conventional laptops). Four against 300 doesn't sound like much, but this would probably be a doubling of Chromebook sales over the previous year - while conventional laptop sales are predicted to fall from 316m according to ABI.
For the most part, Chromebooks seem to be being bought by the education market, and they're doing great things there. When even one of the smartest and strongest advocates for the iPad in education, Fraser Speirs, records an episode of his podcast called The Case for Chromebooks, you should be thinking at least that there's potential here.
The question still gets asked, though: what will it take for the Chromebook to go mainstream? It's a question that assumes Google has to change the Chromebook to make it attractive to the mass market, and I think that's the wrong perspective. I think the market has to change.
It's not them, it's you

A Chromebook is already a good option for the mass market. For home users, it's simple, reliable, robust and likely not as susceptible to viruses as a Windows machine. If most of us actually stop to think about it, the majority of what we use a computer for these days can already be done in a browser window. That's in part because of how much time we spend on websites (such as Facebook and Twitter), and in part because web versions of apps such as Word are finally rich and responsive enough to be usable.
What's more, many of those jobs that we currently don't do in a browser could be done in a browser with minimal disruption if we wanted to. Besides, some interesting things are happening such as the streaming version of Photoshop which brings the full, complete power of Photoshop to a Chromebook while doing all the heavy lifting on a server somewhere. It's trickier in some businesses, but for others - especially sole traders and SMBs who might be well served by or even already be using Google Apps for Work - a Chromebook could be not just a usable trade-off but actually the best tool for the job.
Still, you might say, why should I buy a Chromebook to do these things when I can just install Chrome on my PC or Mac and not have the same compromises? Well, it's true you won't have the same compromises, but you will have compromises. The system is more complex and so liable to failure, it's a bigger target for malware. And of course there's price: for the most part, Chromebooks just are cheap."

Thursday, November 27, 2014


"In his first public interview this week, Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., was asked whether he could have done anything differently that would have prevented the killing.

His answer, broadcast on Wednesday, to the question from George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, was unequivocal: “No.”

But even as a grand jury decided this week not to indict Officer Wilson, the shooting of the 18-year-old, Michael Brown, has continued to raise questions about whether the officer handled the brief and deadly confrontation correctly. It also has become part of a broader national debate over police tactics and potential racial bias in policing."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Watch: Neil deGrasse Tyson Explaining the End of 'Interstellar | Indiewire

Watch: Neil deGrasse Tyson Explaining the End of 'Interstellar | Indiewire

Surface Pro 3 vs Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro - convertible battle - Load the Game

Surface Pro 3 vs Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro – convertible battle

"Performance-wise, the Surface Pro 3 generally tops the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro according to most user reviews and benchmarks. The Surface line has been known to be extra-powerful, so we’re not surprised by that. You do have to pay the extra price, though. In case you need a high-end device with top-notch specs, the Surface Pro 3 should be your best bet. But if you want a powerful device that gives you all the mobility of a tablet, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro would be the better choice. I personally love the watch hinge on the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and would rather spend less on a fanless design with a pretty good performance, but that’s because I don’t use apps like Photoshop or video editing apps which need all the power the Surface Pro 3 can give."

Surface Pro 3 vs Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro - convertible battle - Load the Game

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek: The Budget Mobile Era Arrives

"Call it the end of the beginning of the mobile revolution, an inevitable transition in which people start to give up on the grand (and expensive) experiment of tacking new gadgets onto their lives at regular intervals. We now know exactly where PCs are invaluable and where the usefulness of smartphones and tablets begins and ends. As a result, mobile prices are falling, and manufacturers are competing most fiercely at the bottom. “We are seeing the top of the market start to contract, with all the growth happening on the low end,” says Ryan Reith, program director of research firm IDC."

Chromebooks: Debunking the misconceptions | ZDNet

"Chrome has become a full platform, with extensions, system tools, and apps. Extensions are like the thousands of little utilities that have been around in the Windows and Mac worlds for years. They sit there ready to let the user do a particular task, no matter what application they might be using. They are easily invoked, performing a quick function. Once done, the user is back in the application."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Obama's net neutrality push cheers some, riles others

"President Obama's call for net neutrality could drive the Federal Communications Commission to regulate broadband service like a utility as a way to protect consumers' ability to access all content without a threat of connectivity being throttled."

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Google's Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 Could Be Too Expensive (AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL,

"Although previous Nexus devices didn't set sales records, they were fairly well-received -- the Nexus 7, in particular, fueled Asus' emergence as a top tablet vendor. Budget-minded consumers may have been attracted to the high-end hardware offered at an affordable price.
But it's hard to see these latest Nexuses as much of a bargain. Though both the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are bigger and more powerful than their predecessors, they're also much more expensive.
Nexus has been synonymous with value
The last three Nexus devices -- the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 -- were defined as much by their low price tags as they were by their hardware. The Nexus 4, for example, retailed for just $299 despite offering what was, at the time, one of the fastest available mobile processors. In fact, in terms of hardware, the Nexus 4 was almost identical to Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) competing Galaxy S3, but it cost half as much."

Saturday, November 08, 2014

iOS 8 vs Android 5.0 Lollipop Review: Material Difference - Forbes

"Comparing the iOS 8 and Android 5.0 Lollipop is a shock, because for the first time in Android history it has become more design focused than iOS. The ugly duckling is finally a swan. Its design is both visual, instructional and altogether more ambitious.

Not everything is right out of the gate. If anything Material Design is overly white and spread out (you can see less information in most apps – eg fewer emails, lines of text, etc) whereas its predecessor Android 4.4 KitKat was too dark and dense."

Monday, November 03, 2014

Google Nexus 9 review

" In Android's early days, the Nexus line served most notably as a comfortable, reliable tentpole. Really, the word "Nexus" was just about the only calm oasis during the operating system's Wild West period of varied hardware. New smartphones and tablets under Google's official banner usually came with the next big Android OS update, and they offered the kinds of stable hardware qualities (resolution, RAM, etc.) that developers could more easily target.

SCREEN 2048×1536 8.9" (281 PPI) IPS LCD
OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
CPU Tegra K1 dual-core 2.3GHz Denver
GPU Nvidia Kepler DX1
STORAGE 16GB or 32GB (non-upgradeable)
NETWORKING 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, NFC, optional LTE
PORTS Micro-USB, headphone
CAMERA 8MP rear camera, 1.2MP front camera
SIZE 8.98" × 6.05" × 0.31" (228 x 154 x 7.9 mm)
WEIGHT 15 oz. (425 g)
BATTERY 6700 mAh (non-removable)

That's not the case in 2014. Across the phone-and-tablet spectrum, the hardware has become more homogenized, and even low-end hardware is good enough for typical mobile tasks. And while Android's next major update, Lollipop, offers some substantial visual changes and user requested features (look for the Ars Lollipop review coming separately), the OS is also about to roll out to other capable flagship devices, as if to say that eager upgraders don't need the newest model to dive in. What does the Nexus branding mean for a new device in 2014, then?

In the case of the brand's tablet half, the name seems to mostly signify power. Up until now, Nexus tablets—most notably, the Nexus 7's two iterations—have made waves with a combination of high quality parts and ridiculously low prices, undercutting a slew of other cheap, ho-hum tablets without skimping on performance. This year's Nexus 9, conversely, set its price point just a hair beneath Apple's similar iPad Air 2 while promoting its own industry-topping specs. This is not a tablet meant to blow the competition away with crazy new features or gimmicks; instead, it's a solid, familiar-looking Nexus device that just happens to have a ton of juice.

But just as we asked with the iPad Air 2, what does power really do for users when it's strapped to a mobile-first operating system? Are 8.9 inches of Android any better equipped to scream with 2GB of RAM, a 2.3GHz dual-core processor, and a 192-core Kepler GPU? And does the rest of the package—design, screen, camera—do much to either cement the love of the Android faithful or turn the heads of the iOS weary?"

Friday, October 31, 2014

How Google tricks itself to protect Chrome user privacy - CNET

It's a sticky issue for software developers: how do you gather data about your product's users without invading their privacy?
One solution, as embodied in a new Google open-source project called Rappor, is to have the software send data that you know is wrong.
That approach may seem counterintuitive, given how much effort data gatherers usually devote to screening out bad data. The key to Google's approach, though, is a trick called randomized response that still lets the truth shine through, according a blog post Thursday by Úlfar Erlingsson, a manager in Google's security research division.
How Google tricks itself to protect Chrome user privacy - CNET

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hands on with Google's Nexus 9: This Lollipop tastes like an iPad

"You can taste the iPad influence in Google’s Nexus 9 tablet. Laying eyes on it for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking Apple made it. The slim bezel and the 4:3 aspect ratio screen are very iPad, but the display is slightly smaller — 8.9 inches to Apple’s 9.7.

At 15 ounces (425 grams), the Nexus 9 just as light as the iPad Air 2. The metallic rim adds the iPad feel, but I noted one important difference: It's easier to hold the Nexus 9 in one hand. I was able to grasp it more or less comfortably with my fingertips on one side and my thumb on the other, but I'm 6'4" (with what I suspect are normal-sized hands for that height) so your mileage may vary here."

LG G Watch R review - CNET

LG G Watch R review - CNET

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


"WASHINGTON -- The White House computer network has been hit by what appears to be a sustained cyberattack, administration sources told HuffPost.

The White House -- or the Executive Office of the President (EOP) -- regularly gets hit with hapless cyberattacks from all corners of the web, but the one revealed Tuesday, said people familiar with the situation, has been much more significant in duration and strength, putting the system on the fritz for nearly two weeks, if not longer.

A White House official confirmed on Tuesday that the White House had "identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network." Network outages are not uncommon in the White House, but they typically last no more than a few hours. For the system to be damaged for days on end indicates an attack of significant strength.

"Certainly a variety of actors find our networks attractive targets and seek access to sensitive government information. We are still assessing the activity of concern, and we are not in a position to provide any additional details at this time," the White House official said in a statement.

The network outages have been a defense mechanism, White House staff were told in an internal note obtained by HuffPost. "Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity that users have been experiencing is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks," the email reads.

White House press pool reports sent by email Tuesday night were "significantly delayed," according to pool reporter Steven T. Dennis of CQ Roll Call. "Some people are getting pool reports significantly before other people," Dennis reported. He said later that the pool report delays "appear to now be resolved."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: Amazon’s Kindle Voyage e-reader is the king of its niche | Ars Technica

Most of the time, I’m not sorry that all my dedicated, single-use devices are dead and gone. If you’re carrying a modern smartphone around, why would you miss your Discman, or your portable DVD player, or your dumbphone, or your tape recorder, or your point-and-shoot camera, or your PalmPilot? Not only can one device replace all of them, but that one device is usually better at all of that stuff than most dedicated devices ever were.
Yet there’s something pure about hardware that’s only designed to do one thing, at least when it’s designed well. A gadget that only wants to do a couple of things can tailor itself better to those specific uses while ignoring everything else. Maybe you could get better battery life out of your camera if it didn’t need to be a portable game console and full-featured computer all wrapped up into one....

The Kindle Voyage is the Chromebook Pixel of e-readers. It’s undeniably great hardware, the best in its class and far superior to its older, cheaper cousins. Its screen is good; its backlight works exactly as advertised. It’s just that it’s almost twice as expensive as pretty good hardware that does most of the same stuff. It’s for True Believers for whom price is an afterthought rather than a deciding factor.
If that describes you, you’ll really like the Voyage. It’s attractive and understated, and it retains and improves upon all of the good stuff from other Kindles. It’s just that a dedicated e-reader at this price is the king of a very small hill.
Review: Amazon’s Kindle Voyage e-reader is the king of its niche | Ars Technica

Amazon Kindle Voyage review - CNET

Amazon Kindle Voyage review - CNET

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kindle Voyage: With the best e-reader, old eyes can do new tricks | Page 2 | ZDNet

"However, if you have any kind of eyestrain issues at all, if you fidget with the head positioning on the subject with your progressives or bifocals to get the right level of sharpness, if you perceive any level of fuzziness when you read whatsoever, then do yourself a favor and just get the Voyage.

Because while I can read with a Paperwhite no problem, and it's a pleasurable experience, the Voyage comes that much closer to creating the suspension of disbelief that while I am reading, I am not old and decrepit and I don't need $750 glasses to help me read.

I also find that when I read with it, the font doesn't need to be as blown up so large, so I don't have to turn pages

Read more
Sold, right? Ok. A couple more things.

The Voyage is about the same weight as the Paperwhite, about six ounces without a case on it. Which is to say it's effortless to pick it up one handed. Both of the devices have excellent build quality."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review - CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review - CNET

Hands On: Amazon Kindle & Kindle Voyage

The Retina iMac | The Verge

The new Kindle Voyage e-reader is shockingly good | The Verge

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

For South Korea, Host of League of Legends Championship, E-Sports Is National Pastime -

"Time and again, South Korea has provided glimpses of technology-related transformations before they expand globally, including widespread broadband availability and smartphone adoption. The country has also led in professional video game competitions, often called e-sports, creating organized leagues, training well-financed professional teams and filling giant stadiums with frenzied fans to cheer on their favorite players.

Continue reading the main story
A video game tournament in Seattle in July. Pro gaming, called e-sports, is becoming a lucrative worldwide spectator sport.
Power Up: In E-Sports, Video Gamers Draw Real Crowds and Big Money
AUG. 30, 2014
The Summoner’s Cup awaited the top team at the League of Legends World Championships, which are being held this month before cheering crowds in Busan, South Korea.
Power Up: Behind League of Legends, E-Sports’s Main Attraction
OCT. 10, 2014
Such excitement was on display in Seoul on Sunday, when more than 40,000 fans filled the outdoor soccer stadium used for the 2002 World Cup semifinal to watch the world championship for League of Legends, one of the world’s most popular games."

Lockheed Claims Breakthrough on Fusion Energy - Scientific American

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it had made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, and the first reactors, small enough to fit on the back of a truck, could be ready in a decade.

Tom McGuire, who heads the project, said he and a small team had been working on fusion energy at Lockheed's secretive Skunk Works for about four years, but were now going public to find potential partners in industry and government for their work."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Do not hesitate to download and install OX10 Yosemite

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite Preview - CNET

"DALLAS — Along with dramas of disease transmission, treatment protocols and personal safety, one story line about the Ebola cases here has concerned the man who wasn’t there, sort of.

Gov. Rick Perry.

As national attention has obsessively focused on the three Ebola cases diagnosed here, Mr. Perry has been somewhat removed and, for a time, even absent, after he went ahead with a planned international trip as events were still playing out. Not surprisingly, Democrats have largely been critical and Republicans largely supportive. But with Mr. Perry on the verge of a potential presidential run, his low profile has been a subject of discussion in Texas and beyond."

Friday, October 17, 2014

iPad Air 2 Hands-on: No Tablet Comes Close

iPad Air 2 Hands-on: No Tablet Comes Close

Googlicious - CNET


Googlicious - CNET

Google's Android, Chrome software may converge, exec change suggests - CNET

Google may want one software platform to rule them all.
A top Google executive in charge of engineering for the company's Android mobile operating system is now also overseeing engineering for Chrome, software primarily used for personal computers, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Google's Android, Chrome software may converge, exec change suggests - CNET

Apple iPad Air 2 vs. Google Nexus 9 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S - CNET

"The device's launch also comes on the heels of Google's latest tablet debut, the Nexus 9. Announced yesterday, the device serves as an attractive Android alternative to the Air 2. Running the most recent Android 5.0 software, the Nexus sports a slightly smaller 8.9-inch (226.06mm) display. However, with its $399 starting price, it's less expensive than the Air 2. (In the UK and AU, the Nexus' pricing has yet to be revealed, though converted, it comes out to about £250 and AU$455, respectively).

But the Nexus 9 isn't the only competitor the Air 2 should worry about. Not surprisingly, Apple's ever-present rival Samsung has a high-end tablet as well. Known as the Galaxy Tab S, the device has an ultra-sharp screen, an attractive sleek design, and plenty of software and media features to keep users entertained. Plus, with its $500 (£400, AU$590) starting price, it costs about about the same as Apple's tablet, but adds on a slightly bigger 10.5-inch (267.2mm) screen and expandable storage."

The new Kindle Voyage e-reader is shockingly good | The Verge

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kindle Paperwhite (2013) e-reader review - CNET

The Good Amazon has improved on last year's excellent Paperwhite e-reader with a faster processor, more responsive touch screen, and a better integrated light that's brighter and whiter and displays more evenly across the screen. Pages also refresh less frequently (less flashing). A smattering of new features enhance Amazon's already best-in-class content ecosystem.
The Bad Device hasn't gotten smaller or significantly lighter since last year, an AC adapter isn't included (just a Micro-USB cable for charging). The ad-free version costs $20 more.
The Bottom Line While the "all-new" Paperwhite may seem like an unspectacular upgrade on the surface, it's a clear improvement over the original Paperwhite and arguably the best e-reader currently available.

Kindle Paperwhite (2013) e-reader review - CNET

Hackers hold 7 million Dropbox passwords ransom - CNET

Hackers are threatening a major breach in Dropbox security, claiming to have stolen the login details of almost 7 million users, and promising to release more password details if they're paid a Bitcoin ransom.

However, Dropbox has denied it has been hacked, saying the passwords were stolen from third-party services.

An entry on Pastebin, posted on October 13 at 4:10 p.m. CDT, shows a list of 400 emails and matching plain text passwords, claimed to be part of a large-scale Dropbox hack.

The login details for the 400 email addresses, each one starting with the letter B, have been labelled as a "first teaser...just to get things going". The perpetrators are also promising to release more details if they're paid for the information.

Hackers hold 7 million Dropbox passwords ransom - CNET

Saturday, October 11, 2014

No, Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets aren't dead - CNET

No, Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets aren't dead - CNET:

Microsoft officials seldom deny pubicly rumors about product futures, even when they are from some sites with less-than-stellar Microsoft-prediction track records.

But on October 9, Microsoft execs broke that rule (at least indirectly) and posted on the Microsoft Surface blog that "Businesses can buy with confidence. We are here to stay."

Digitimes published a report on October 9 claiming Microsoft is planning to exit the Surface business, citing unnamed supply-chain sources.

In spite of CEO Satya Nadella's recent characterization of Surface (and hardware in general) as supporting rather than "core" Microsoft businesses, Microsoft isn't dumping the Intel-based Surface line, officials said.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Google Now voice search edges out Siri and Cortana in comparison

"Over the course of 3086 queries made by digital marketing consulting firm Stone Temple, Android's voice-activated search through Google Now returned 1795 results enhanced with custom content, while Siri on the iPhone served up 908 knowledge panels, and Windows Phone's Cortana gave 630. Knowledge panels are custom-built to answer specific types of questions, and do more than just shoot back web results.

Of those knowledge panels, Google Now search scored 88% accuracy for properly addressing questions, Siri came back right 53% of the time, and Cortana got 40%.

Those conducting the study pointed out that their focus was on knowledge panels, and not full digital assistant functions like adding calendar appointments or dictating e-mails. That said, don't take these results as providing a complete assessment of what your platform offers."

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Acer Chromebook 13 review - Page 2 - CNET

The Acer Chromebook 13 is the first Nvidia-powered Chrome OS device we've seen, but it won't be the last. HP and others have similar designs coming soon, and with the growth of popularity in Chromebooks overall, there's a chance this won't always be an Intel-dominated category.
This particular configuration makes a compelling case, with a decent design, high-resolution screen, acceptable performance, and long battery life, all for $300. A handful of software incompatibility issues are annoying, and shows how early in the game this model is. Chromebooks with Nvidia processors perhaps need a little more time to work out all the kinks, but this is an excellent first step.

Acer Chromebook 13 review - Page 2 - CNET

Five surprises switching from iOS to Android and back

Samsung responds to Galaxy Note 4 build quality complaints- Trusted Reviews

"In the wake of the Galaxy Note 4 release, Samsung has been forced to respond to complaints from a number of early adopters who have reported issues with the handset’s build quality.

Although a UK Note 4 release date is not set to be held until October 10, the 5.7-inch smartphone touched down in Samsung’s native Korea last Friday, September 26.

The big launch doesn’t seem to have gone quite as smoothly as Samsung would have hoped, however. According to Korean media, Note 4 owners are already complaining about the shoddy piecing together of the high-end phones.

According to a number of separate adopters, the Note 4 suffers from sizeable spacing between the phone’s screen and its new metal-framed body.

The issue is severe enough for pieces of paper and business cards to be easily slotted within the gap"

Five surprises switching from iOS to Android and back again

As a long-time iPhone user, I finally gave up the ghost after getting a serious case of big-screen envy and swapped my iPhone 4S for a Samsung Galaxy S4 and later a Galaxy Note 3. The larger screen was just what I was looking for, but getting used to the Wild West of Android after living in a walled garden required a period of adjustment and retraining.
With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the big-screen iPhone I told myself I had been waiting for was here. Switching back would be like slipping on a comfortable old shoe, or so I thought. Going from iOS to Android was tough, but going back from Android to iOS was in some ways even more of a culture shock, and these are the top five changes I struggled with immediately.

Five surprises switching from iOS to Android and back again

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Recommended read from You don't "have nothing to hide": How privacy breaches are quietly controlling you

"Another reason why privacy is important, as Greenwald and many others, including the philosopher Hannah Arendt, have argued, is that privacy is crucial to personal exploration, creativity, dissent — those interests and thoughts that reflect the complexity of human beings and their ability to flourish and lead meaningful lives. But as we also know, creativity and dissent can be disruptive to the smooth functioning of society — making the lives of bureaucrats and autocratic politicians much harder because their authority would be constantly challenged. As Professor Roger Berkowitz, Director of Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center, suggests in an excellent post on the importance of privacy for Hannah Arendt,

Such independent thinking is dangerous, or at least disturbing to the demands for conformity and correctness of public society. The real reason privacy is in decline today is because the very fruits of a rich private life — uniqueness, difference, and plurality — are scorned by the insistence on uniformity of opinion and behavior in good society. What suffers in the poverty of a meaningful private sphere is politics."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

One (M8) comes last, Note 3 first in Consumer Reports bend test

"It’s not a real “****gate” scandal in the tech world until Consumer Reports weighs in. The respected consumer protection organization did it in 2010, when it confirmed that the iPhone 4 had a “death grip” issue, and now it’s literally weighing in on the new iPhones and several Android smartphones to see exactly how much force is needed to bend one."

How much does an iPhone 6 really cost? (Hint: It's way more than $199) |

To paraphrase Mark Twain: There are lies, damned lies, and smartphone prices. Every review I've read of the new iPhone 6 this week says the price starts at $199. That's not true. The total prices that buyers pay for smartphones on two-year contracts from American carriers will shock you.

NYTimes: $199 Apple iPhone 6 Is Fiction, if Not Fantasy

Friday, September 26, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3: Decision time - CNET

"Basically what I'm saying is that I really can't make up my mind. If I had to choose one it'd be the Note, because maximizing productivity on a mobile device must be my top priority. However, if I had the means, I'd keep them both. Running off to a meeting? I'd grab my Note. Heading out for a night on the town with some friends? iPhone all the way. And, if I were jetting away for a business trip, I'd keep the pair -- the iPhone full of media, games and distractions, the Note full of email, reminders and other boring stuff.

That's not to say the iPhone can't be a serious productivity tool, or that the Note 3 doesn't do a fine job at whittling away idle moments. Both are excellent all-rounders. It's just that one each feels more optimal for one suite of tasks than the other.

So, if you're making this difficult decision yourself, it might help to think of things this way: business, or pleasure?"

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kindle Paperwhite Review: If Only Every E-Book Reader Was This Good

"The 2013 edition of the Kindle Paperwhite is, hands down, the best dedicated e-book reader out there. The display is clear and bright, the available content library covers all the bases, the battery life remains high, and the user interface is easy to use and doesn’t get in the way once you start reading.

There are other options available, but if you are looking for an e-book reader and are happy to spend the money, it would be hard to fault the decision to buy the Kindle Paperwhite."

Make sure you get the 2013 version of the Kindle, the one with the large Amazon emblazoned on the back.  It has significantly better lighting to the physically identical 2012 model which many stores carry at the same price of $119.00. If you have older eyes the difference is well worth the search.

iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 3

"So that's a problem, but beyond that, I don't find myself missing anything else on the Note. The screen may be the same resolution, but the increased contrast of the iPhone 6 Plus makes it look better when out and about. The battery life of the Plus seems superior to the Note in how I use it, and every app that I use on the Note I'm also able to find on the Plus. As an Android user this is hard for me to admit, but almost all of those apps look and work better on iOS than on Android.

But there's one big exception: keyboard. Though my favorite keyboard, SwiftKey, is now available on iOS, it isn't nearly as pleasant to use there as it is on Android. How so? Why, stay tuned for the next installment, where we'll cover that very topic."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 3 quick look

"Overall, the iPhone 6 Plus is a competent device, but the Note 3 is the better productivity device, with its powerful stylus and multitasking features. Samsung has figured out ways to use the large screen to its fullest, while the 6 Plus is mostly just a larger version of the iPhone 6.

Wrap up

We won’t issue a verdict after this quick look, but we’ll do list the features that we think tip the scale in favor of one device or the other. The Note 3 comes ahead thanks to its compact build and larger screen, larger, removable battery and microSD card slot (though not all users care about that), more hardware features, and especially the S Pen and all its software features. The iPhone 6 Plus has a premium build and a solid unibody construction, a fingerprint scanner, a great camera, and a fine-tuned operating system."

Ex-Employees Say Home Depot Left Data Vulnerable -

"The data breach at Home Depot compromised the credit cards of 56 million of its customers. "

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Samsung will give you $200 if you trade your old phone for the Note 4, even if it’s worth less

"Earlier today we learned the Note 4 will go up for pre-order in the UK and US starting tomorrow. For those that are planning to upgrade from an older handset, Samsung has now announced its “guaranteed $200 total trade-in” promotion.

In short, if you pre-order the Note 4 between tomorrow and 10/16 through any carrier or retailer, you’ll be eligible to trade in an existing handset for $200, even if the phone isn’t worth that much. As you can expect, there’s a bit of a process involved for getting your money back for the trade-in, but this could be a heck of a deal for those with older handsets like the Galaxy S3 and Note 2. For those with newer devices, you’re probably better listing your phone for sale online, as you’ll likely get much more than just $200."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Amazon's $200 Kindle Voyage is the Rolls-Royce of e-readers

"Perhaps Amazon sold a lot of 3G Paperwhites without special offers. Or maybe Kobo's Aura HD has quietly taken the world by storm and Jeff Bezos decided he needed an answer. Whatever the impetus, Amazon has decided there is room in the world for a $199 e-reader. The Kindle Voyage was built for people who "love to read." Clearly the company thinks there is a place out there for a premium e-reader and, while we can't vouch for the vibrancy of the high-end e-reader market, we can confirm that Amazon has put together a stunner of a device. The familiar Kindle software has even picked up some neat new software tricks that the Voyage taught its more budget-minded siblings."

Kindle Voyage e-reader leaks on Amazon sites - CNET

Amazon might be planning to launch a new Kindle e-reader in the next couple of months.

Amazon Germany and Amazon Japan have both listed a new device from the company, called the Kindle Voyage. After they were discovered by The Verge and other publications, Amazon quickly took down the listings on the as yet announced device.

According to those listings, the Kindle Voyage will come with a 6-inch display and will launch -- at least internationally -- on November 4. Neither the Amazon Japan nor Amazon Germany listings show images of the new e-reader, but said it will come with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. One of the more interesting additions apparently on tap is a feature that will allow users to tap lightly on the bezel next to the screen to flip through pages.

If Amazon is indeed working on a new Kindle, it wouldn't be all that surprising. The company has been offering updates to its Kindle e-reader each year. The last update to its Kindle line came in November 2013 when Amazon launched its 3G version of the Paperwhite. It's due for an update.

Assuming Amazon is planning a Kindle Voyage, it's not clear when it might be made available in the US. On several occasions, Amazon has launched international versions of its Kindle devices months after the US launch. So while the Japan and Germany sites list November as the Voyage's launch date, it's possible the US might get the device sooner.

Kindle Voyage e-reader leaks on Amazon sites - CNET

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – Is the Note 3 of Any Competition to the iPhone 6 Plus? Argyll Free Press

"The iPhone 6 Plus is the all new phablet that was announced alongside the new iPhone 6. This is the first time ever that Apple is offering an iPhone which comes with a 5.5-inch display screen. It is the largest ever iPhone ever introduced by the Cupertino. Last year’s iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C came with a 4-inch screen.

The new iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7inch screen and the larger iPhone 6 Plus allows the Apple brand to penetrate into phablet category. The Galaxy Note 3 is the third iteration in the Note category from the South Korean tech giant. The Galaxy Note 4 is the successor model for last year’s Galaxy Note 3. It is yet to arrive in the market for purchase and the Galaxy Note 4 price has not been revealed by Samsung."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

On Death and iPods: A Requiem

On Death and iPods: A Requiem | WIRED

BY MAT HONAN   09.12.14

Jim Merithew/WIRED

Have you ever loved a car? Maybe it was an old truck you drove for hundreds of thousands of miles, or maybe it was your very first car: where you had your very first beer and your very first kiss. You can love a car and keep on loving it as long as you don’t crash it. If you’re willing to maintain it, you can keep driving it basically forever. Maybe some day it’ll be old enough that you’ll get thumbs-ups from cool kids as you putter down the street in your charmingly vintage car. This is not the case with gadgets—even though, for many of us, our old gadgets were way more important than our old cars.

Gadgets come and go from our lives. Technology marches forward so rapidly that even if you could replace a broken part—which often you can’t—doing so just wouldn’t make any sense. Other times, the networks and services those gadgets depend on to keep running go away entirely. Gadgets die, even the ones we love."

The IPod Is Gone, But Not Forgotten

This tablet packs a 3D camera, slim and sturdy design

"Smartphones slowly but surely usurped digital cameras as the popular way to take photos, but are tablets the next gadget to takeover? Dell is taking a step forward as a top challenger in this shift with the release of the Dell Venue 8 7000.

The 8.4-inch slate houses a 3D camera powered by Intel's RealSense technology and it ships with pre-loaded software to take full advantage of its unique capabilities."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Android Wear hardware review: Sometimes promising, often frustrating | Ars Technica

Companies are always on the lookout for the next big thing, the kind of product that will popularize a new kind of gadget and drive growth to the same extent that digital audio players, smartphones, and tablets have done over the last couple of decades. That's why they're all chasing things like smart TVs, smartwatches, smart glasses, smart homes, and various other "Internet of Things" things. Everyone wants to be the one to hit it big with a runaway mass-market success story.
The Gear Live and the G Watch are better than the gizmos that have come before. They're running better software that can do more things, and they're tied into an ecosystem that is likely to try to do something with them (seriously, thousands of developers went home with these last week). The trouble is that the things that came before didn't really set the bar very high; Android Wear barely has to hop to vault over it.
Of the two smartwatches we've reviewed, the Gear Live is clearly better. Its screen is crisper and more colorful, it feels better to wear, and it looks better (something I can't believe I'm writing about a Samsung watch). It has added hardware features. It's better at springing to life when I bring it up to my face. It's $30 cheaper. Its band is... well, it's easy to replace.
What it fails at is making the smartwatch into a must-have device. As it stands now, it's something that will make it a tiny bit easier to do a whole bunch of stuff you can already do. It exists only as an accessory, and at $200 it just might cost as much or more than what you paid for your phone on a contract. In a world where the Moto G and the 2013 Nexus 7 exist, $200 is too much to pay for an Accessory to a Thing. $200 is enough to buy an Actual Thing.
Maybe Android Wear will be useful enough to become indispensable in six months. Maybe the Moto 360 will strike a balance between semi-useful-thing and fashion accessory that hits a mass-market nerve. Right now, though, these watches are like their predecessors in that their promise is greater than their real-world utility. I might miss a couple things about the Gear Live when I take it off my wrist and ship it back to Google, but it's not going to be difficult to part with.

Android Wear hardware review: Sometimes promising, often frustrating | Ars Technica

Lessons learned from Microsoft’s pioneering—and standalone—smartwatches | Ars Technica

Is there anything to learn from these early adventures in smart devices? Perhaps. It's faintly ironic that one of the concerns people express about today's smartwatches is how little they can do when not paired with a phone. They're functionally smartphone accessories, albeit expensive ones, and this is held to be quite a drawback. But if the SPOT watches tell us anything, it's that the ability to escalate to the phone—switching to a device that isn't just a passive receiver of notifications—is, in fact, key to the value proposition. The watch alone is just too restricted, and in practice, it's just not that big a deal if the watch doesn't do much without the phone.
The limited SPOT products might also teach us a thing or two about connecting everything to the Internet. Electrical goods companies may feverishly anticipate a world in which everything has a screen and an Internet connection, but if the Melitta coffee machine is anything to go by, normal people couldn't care less about making their appliances into anything more than, well, dumb appliances.
As for Microsoft, the company is today busy trying to build platforms. It wants to be a part of the Internet of Things and offers no-cost Windows licenses to get there. And it's sure to have some kind of wearable strategy soon; the usual "sources close to the matter" claim that the company is working on some kind of wearable sensor-packed bracelet watch thing. While it will still need a smartphone, unlike the high profile devices from Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and LG, Microsoft's device will apparently work with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Lessons learned from Microsoft’s pioneering—and standalone—smartwatches | Ars Technica

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Android is still the top smartphone OS in the US, according to comScore

"The latest data from research firm comScore shows that the number one smartphone OS in the US continues to be Android, but it actually saw its market share go down from 52.5 percent in April to 51.5 percent in July.

iOS, the number two smartphone OS, saw its market share rise from 41.4 percent to 42.4 percent in the same time frame. Windows Phone is third, going up from 3.3 percent in April to 3.6 percent in July. BlackBerry is fourth and saw its share drop from 2.5 to 2.3 percent. Symbian is fifth, dropping from 0.2 to 0.1 percent.

The leading smartphone OEM in the US continues to be Apple, claiming 42.4 percent of the industry's market share in July, up from 41.4 percent in April, Samsung is second with 28.4 percent, up from 27.7 percent. LG is a distant third with 6.4 percent, followed by Motorola at 5.7 percent and HTC at 4.7 percent."

Friday, September 05, 2014

Samsung Gear 2, Neo smartwatches grow up

Samsung Gear 2 Neo Review

Moto 360 Preview - CNET

Moto 360 Preview - CNET

Asian submarine cable system going live in 2015 as Korea's KT hooks up - CNET

"The long-awaited Asia Pacific Gateway (APG) undersea cable system appears to be nearing completion. Korean carrier KT has opened a network operating center for the APG in the city of Busan and has confirmed that it is preparing for full operation in early 2015, according to local media reports.

The trans-Asian submarine fiber-optic cable system has been in the works since May 2009, when a consortium of network operators in Asia agreed to lay more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of cable from Malaysia to Japan, connecting nine countries in total. Facebook later joined the consortium."

Samsung Gear 2 Neo Review: This Is The Mainstream Smartwatch For The Summer

"Announced alongside the Samsung Gear 2 (reviewed perviously here on Forbes), the Gear 2 Neo can be brutally described as the ‘cut down’ version of Samsung’s Gear 2 flagship smartwatch. By stripping the two mega-pixel camera out of the hardware, and using a plastic exterior on the Gear Neo rather than the metal found in the Gear 2, Samsung has been able to drop the price by £80 in the UK (and $100 in the US).

Given that everything else about the Gear platform is shared between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, I think it’s far better to look at the lower priced Gear 2 Neo as the smartwatch for the mass market and the Gear 2 for those looking for a bit more luxury in their smartwatch. Suggesting that someone pays £220/$199 for Samsung’s vision of a smartwatch seems far more acceptable than the £299/$299 asked by the metallic Gear 2.

The other issue around the Gear 2 Neo is personal one, and it’s around timing. I’m looking at this watch after my experiences with the LG G Watch and the Android Wear operating system. Samsung has developed the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo to use a variant of their Tizen operating system, and that means all the decisions in terms of UI, operation, and presentation belong to Samsung."

Review: Samsung Gear 2 Neo smartwatch

"When we reviewed the Gear 2, I thought it was a marked improvement over the Galaxy Gear, but had the same apps problem that plagued its predecessor. Namely, it had very few – and even fewer that mattered. With Android Wear (at the time) looming on the horizon, I wasn't sure if developers would give the Gear platform much love.

Four months later, has any of that changed? Well, though Samsung's Tizen platform for wearables (the software that runs on the Gear) hasn't exactly set the world on fire, it is in much better shape than it was in April."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Given that everything else about the Gear platform is shared between the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, I think it’s far better to look at the lower priced Gear 2 Neo as the smartwatch for the mass market and the Gear 2 for those looking for a bit more luxury in their smartwatch. Suggesting that someone pays £220/$199 for Samsung’s vision of a smartwatch seems far more acceptable than the £299/$299 asked by the metallic Gear 2.
The other issue around the Gear 2 Neo is personal one, and it’s around timing. I’m looking at this watch after my experiences with the LG G Watch and the Android Wear operating system. Samsung has developed the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo to use a variant of their Tizen operating system, and that means all the decisions in terms of UI, operation, and presentation belong to Samsung.

While Android Wear may provide a much richer graphical experience, of the two smartwatch operating systems Tizen’s smartwatch variant makes more sense to me and is more mature than the first round effort of Android Wear. While both systems are built around the notifications that your Android smartphone (or in the case of the Gear 2 Neo, your Samsung Galaxy smartphone as Samsung’s watch is only compatible with Samsung’s hardware), the Gear 2 Neo is much less invasive. Where Android Wear pushes the notification to the front of the watch screen demand action, the Gear 2 Neo’s Tizen powered software is more subtle, putting the notification under a ‘notifications’ shortcut icon that is a swipe away from the main clock screen."

Review: Samsung Gear 2 Neo smartwatch

"We reviewed Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatch when it launched in April, but we skipped its sibling, the Gear 2 Neo. With only minor differences between the two, we figured the one review could speak for both watches. Well, Samsung's smartwatch platform has grown in the last four months, so let's see how things have changed as Gizmag (finally) reviews the Samsung Gear 2 Neo."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Anonymous Is Doing in Ferguson | TIME

What the "hacktavist" group does, how it dealt with the affiliated member who misidentified Michael Brown's killer and how many members are involved in Operation Ferguson

What Anonymous Is Doing in Ferguson | TIME

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The throwaway line in Aliens that spawned decades of confusion | Ars Technica

" Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley stands in front of the squad of ten cocky, poised space marines. They laugh and joke, oozing bravado and testosterone—even the women. As the shavetail lieutenant lays out the situation, Bill Paxton’s mouthy PFC Hudson interrupts: "Is this going to be a stand-up fight, sir, or another bug hunt?"

"All we know is that there’s still no contact with the colony," replies the lieutenant, Gorman, "and that a xenomorph may be involved."

"Excuse me, sir," interjects PFC Frost from the back row, "—a what?"

"A xenomorph," repeats Gorman, emphasizing the syllables. It's one of the few times in all four Alien series films where the creatures are referred to directly, rather than obliquely as "them" or "it."

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Tyson Says Media Misled Over Speed Of Light Story

"What is new about my calculations is that they suggest that a gravitational field may slow light down slightly more than it does other particles, such as neutrinos. Neutrinos have extremely small masses and they travel very nearly at the speed of light as a result. My calculations suggest that the velocity of light may be slowed down by a few parts per billion more than the neutrinos."

What is Google+ and why should I use it?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8.4-inch) review - CNET

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Review Date: 
The Good The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is extremely slim, has a gorgeous, super-high-definition display, tonnes of power, and the latest version of Android KitKat on board.
The Bad It's packed full of so much bundled software from Samsung and third parties that it will likely be confusing for first-time Android users.
The Bottom Line With its slim design, fantastic screen, and oodles of power, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is a superb smaller tablet, and a worthy competitor to the ever-popular iPad Mini.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8.4-inch) review - CNET