Cortana Reportedly Wants To Bust Out Of Windows Jail – But Then What?

from readwrite Microsoft’s Cortana app will make its way to iOS and Android devices in the near future, a new report from Reuters says, quoting “people familiar with the matter.” The rumor has in fact been doing the rounds for some time: Last November, Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green hinted that such a move was on the cards in a briefing with reporters. Getting the app on other devices is one thing; getting anyone to use it is quite another. Assuming Cortana jumps out of Windows, can it thrive elsewhere? More here.

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What’s Wrong With the ‘Blurred Lines’ Copyright Ruling

from NYTs Here’s how songs, especially hip-hop and R&B songs, are made today : the framework is built in the studio by a producer, working on some combination of keyboard, drum machine, sampler and computer program. Songwriters contribute topline melodies and conceptual ideas, and sometimes all the words. Generally speaking, at the moment of creation, there is no sheet music, no notation that’s meant to guide musicians. On Tuesday, a federal jury in Los Angeles concluded that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, the performer and primary songwriter-producer of the 2013 pop hit “Blurred Lines,” committed copyright infringement by using elements […]

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This Throwable Computer Teaches Kids How To Code

from co.Exist Coding is a great skill for kids to learn but it can be a lonely, sedentary endeavor. Hackaball, a new toy created from a partnership between the design agencies MAP and Made By Many, promises to get kids off their butts and playing outside—all while teaching basic coding skills and empowering kids to invent their own kind of play. It’s a lot to ask from one product which is why Hackaball had to be meticulously designed. The ball is bigger than a baseball but smaller than a soccer ball, and it comes with several simple parts that can be put together using […]

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There is Actually One Thing You Can Do to Fight the Surveillance Machine

from New Tech City Reading this right now? Congratulations. You’re winning. Yes, all of the usual corporate and government entities know you’re here. Google remembers everything you’ve ever searched, BuzzFeed knows how you’ve scored on all their quizzes, and your cell phone provider knows who you talk to and who you sleep with. Terms of Service agreements are an exercise in futility, encrypted email often takes more trouble than it’s worth, and yeah, sure, go ahead and give Facebook a fake name, but don’t think you’re fooling anyone. Companies are collecting your data from just about everywhere, storing it through time unknown, and […]

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Mutual Suspicion Mars Tech Trade With China

from NYTs At an elegant guesthouse here recently, China’s top Internet regulator entertained ambassadors and diplomats with platters of tempura and roast on a spit, unusual lavishness in an era of official austerity in China, to celebrate the Chinese New Year. But the graciousness came with a warning: Foreign companies had to behave if they wanted to stay in China’s $450 billion technology market. In Washington on the same day, more than two dozen American tech industry executives and trade association officials gathered at an emergency meeting at the pre-Civil War building of the Office of the United States Trade Representative. […]

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Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft

from Medium Backchannel When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is?—?a tool?—?and use what works best. So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android? […]

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The Big Lock-In

from Medium What if all of the devices in your life had a common interface, controlled by a single company, that picked what video content you could easily search and access online? What if that single company had its own economic reasons to support some “channels” and hide others? Welcome to the world of Xfinity, Comcast’s brand name for its services. You’ve seen the advertising. Now here’s the big idea: If Comcast has its way, Xfinity will be Americans’ window on the world. Basically, our only window. First, some background. In 1996, Congress passed a law directing the FCC to ensure a competitive […]

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3d Printing: Who’s Investing Now and What’s Coming Next?

from Gigaom Printing has come a long way since Gutenberg and the first printing press in 1439. The printing industry has evolved from the golden age of printing blocks to modern 2D printers capable of mass-producing documents in minutes. We have seen these devices become an integral part of our lives, but today’s technology is taking them even further for the everyday consumer. What once seemed like science fiction is now a reality, with 3D printers creating anything from mechanical parts to prosthetics. More here.

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The One Loophole to Rule Them All

from Slate For more than a year, alongside immigration and an oil pipeline, net neutrality has been one of the biggest policy debates in the nation, prompting thousands of articles, late-night comedy skits, many Senate letters, days of mass action, and a video pronouncement from the leader of the free world. Cable and phone companies (like Comcast and Verizon) want the power to charge Web giants (like Netflix and Amazon) for access to fast lanes and preferential treatment on the Internet, which would radically change the level playing field we have today for all inventors, speakers, and organizers. A year […]

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Verizon’s Mobile ‘Supercookies’ Seen as Threat to Privacy

from NYTs For the last several months, cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling. It looks as if there was reason to worry. This month Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and computer science graduate student at Stanford University, reported on his blog that Turn, an advertising software company, was using Verizon’s unique customer codes to regenerate its own tracking tags after consumers […]

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The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right

from Wired Does the United States act in accordance with the same principles that we advocate to others? The answer needs to be yes. When it comes to the debate on network neutrality, the world watches what we do at home. That’s one reason that the President’s commitment to network neutrality is so important: In the struggle to protect a global, open, and free internet, we must also protect it at home. The President’s recent call to enshrine network neutrality principles in domestic regulation echoes our diplomatic efforts to prevent any centralized power—corporate or governmental—from picking winners and losers on […]

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Secure Messaging Scorecard

From EFF In the face of widespread Internet surveillance, we need a secure and practical means of talking to each other from our phones and computers. Many companies offer “secure messaging” products—but are these systems actually secure? We decided to find out, in the first phase of a new EFF Campaign for Secure & Usable Crypto. This scorecard represents only the first phase of the campaign. In later phases, we are planning to offer closer examinations of the usability and security of the tools that score the highest here. As such, the results in the scorecard below should not be […]

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How My Mom Got Hacked

from NYTs MY mother received the ransomnote on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It popped up on her computer screen soon after she’d discovered that all of her files had been locked. “Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If my mother failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data — would be lost forever. Sincerely, CryptoWall. CryptoWall 2.0 is […]

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Artificial Intelligence Is Real Now And Its Just Getting Started

from Gigaom Artificial intelligence is already very real. Not conscious machines, omnipotent machines or even reasoning machines (yet), but statistical machines that automate and increasingly can outperform humans at certain pattern-recognition tasks. Computer vision, language understanding, anomaly detection and other fields have made immense advances in the past few years. All this work will be the stepping stones for future AI systems that, decades from now, might perform feats we’ve only imagined computers could perform. There are brain-inspired neurosynaptic microchips under development, and quantum artificial intelligence might only be a decade away. Some experts predict general artificial intelligence — perhaps even artificial superintelligence — will happen easily within […]

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What’s Wrong With Your Pa$$w0rd?

from TED Lorrie Faith Cranor studied thousands of real passwords to figure out the surprising, very common mistakes that users — and secured sites — make to compromise security. And how, you may ask, did she study thousands of real passwords without compromising the security of any users? That’s a story in itself. It’s secret data worth knowing, especially if your password is 123456 … More here.

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As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up

from NYTs A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published. Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there are signs that this time may really be different. The technological breakthroughs of recent years — allowing machines to mimic the human mind — are enabling machines to do knowledge jobs and service jobs, in addition to […]

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Tech’s Push To “Disrupt” Workers Is A Legal & Social Timebomb

from Gigamon Startups that push the limits of labor law are getting socked by lawsuits, and risk paying out big to employees and the IRS. These episodes are not just a threat to the business model of many tech ventures. The labor flare-ups are also a stubborn reminder of a growing, and possibly permanent, servant class who are powering the tech industry’s dreams of disruption. More here.

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Legal Tech Startups Have A Short History And A Bright Future

from Tech Crunch Legal technology is booming, with companies attempting to disrupt the legal space at every level and from every angle. And with good reason. Some estimates value the market size at as much as $400 billion. While legal still hasn’t caught up with other industries — either in terms of funding or widespread adoption, the future is bright and coming at us fast. Legal has been a tough nut to crack because there is significant non-uniform regulation and risk-averse, disaggregated stakeholders. These factors have slowed disruption. But change is nigh: consumers are demanding more efficient, transparent and affordable legal services, and lawyers are looking for cutting-edge ways to compete in an […]

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Moore’s Law And The 30-Year Rule

from Tech Crunch Citations of Moore’s Law are growing exponentially. In fact the number of articles with some mention of the law, which has come to mean computing capacity doubles every 10 months, are accelerating. TechCrunch alone returns 220 pages of results. If you consider the comments, trackbacks, and social mentions, it is only a matter of time before the Internet is just one large recitation. I tease. I don’t begrudge the technosphere’s fantasy of Law Giver. Readers of Plato still entertain the Philosopher King. I have heard that artists and other creative types regularly project visions of grand influence. […]

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