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Inspectors Find Big Gaps in Federal Cloud Contract Compliance
October 31, 2014
U.S. government agencies may be warming to the cloud, with ambitions to significantly boost investment in the technology. However, many millions of dollars in federal cloud projects could be at risk both currently and in the future, as a result of flawed contract procedures. Many agencies have had difficulty in meeting federal requirements and guidance covering cloud contracts with IT vendors.
Tim Cook Makes Waves, Creates Ripple Effect
October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday publicly proclaimed he is gay. While his sexual orientation isn't news, his strong acknowledgment sparked a wave of discussions and drew kudos from his Silicon Valley peers and others. "My first reaction was, 'It's 2014, so what? So many other famous people have come out as gay, why does one more matter?" said technology journalist Mitch Wagner. "But I was wrong."
Snail Mail Surveillance: Rules Are Weak - and Routinely Broken
October 30, 2014
The U.S. Postal Service didn't adequately follow its own rules last year, when it secretly recorded and shared information about some 49,000 pieces of mail to further criminal and national security investigations, according to an audit report from the Office of Inspector General. Information recorded under the service's longstanding mail cover program is limited to what's written on the exterior.
AT&T: We Told Our Customers 'Unlimited' Doesn't Mean 'Unlimited'
October 29, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday filed a complaint in a California federal court against AT&T, seeking compensation for customers who were told they had unlimited data plans but in reality did not. The legal action stemmed from a practice AT&T began in 2011 of throttling data delivery to customers with unlimited data plans when their data usage reached a specified amount during a billing period.
Investors Quiver Over Twitter's Shaky Prospects
October 29, 2014
Twitter shares closed Tuesday at $43.78, down almost 10 percent, even though the company's Q3 earnings report showed monthly active users grew 23 percent. Granted, that was down a tick from the previous quarter's 24 percent growth -- but recall the World Cup was being held at that time, driving user growth explosively. Germany's win saw Twitter use peak at nearly 619,000 tweets a minute.
Battered Aereo Takes a Couple More Blows
October 28, 2014
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week granted broadcasters' request for a temporary restraining order against Aereo. This is the latest setback for the would-be cable-killer service, which was suspended following a Supreme Court ruling this summer. Aereo had utilized small dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals and stream the content to subscribers over the Internet.
Most Everything's Coming Up Roses for Microsoft
October 27, 2014
Microsoft last week announced better-than-expected Q1 2015 earnings, giving pause to its critics. Granted, net income registered a year-over-year drop. However, revenue totaled $23.2 billion, compared to the previous year's $18.53 billion. Bear in mind the results include $1.14 billion in costs related to Microsoft's restructuring plan and the ongoing integration of Nokia's mobile business.
Amazon's Cold Fire Phone Inflames Investors
October 24, 2014
Amazon on Thursday posted a net loss of $437 million for the third quarter. For the same period in 2013, it posted a net loss of $41 million. Amazon had warned shareholders when it reported its bleak second quarter performance in July that the next quarter would be equally grim. However, that did not keep investors from reacting in surprise and dismay when the Q3 report arrived.
Zuckerberg Talks His Way Into Chinese Hearts and Minds
October 24, 2014
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on stage at Tsinghua University in Beijing Wednesday for a 30-minute Q&A session, the audience expected him to do what foreigners generally do: Utter a few words in Mandarin to acknowledge their culture, then depend heavily on translators. Instead, Zuckerberg elicited gasps of approval from the audience when he spoke in Mandarin all the way.
Ello Sets Its Ad-Free Promise in Stone
October 23, 2014
Ello on Thursday made its ad-free philosophy official by incorporating it into a new company charter. Now converted to a public benefit corporation, the social network has stipulated not only that it will never make money from selling ads or user data, but also that any new owners will have to comply by those terms as well, in the event it's ever sold.
Is Amazon a Robber Baron or a Robin Hood?
October 23, 2014
Amazon's tactics in its ongoing battles with content publishers are fast becoming a bone of contention. The company has delayed distributing content from companies it's tussling with over content price points or its cut of the take. It's been steering customers to other publishers, at times overtly. Amazon's actions have given rise to speculation that it might perhaps be getting too powerful.
Apple Is Confusing Tablet Leadership With Awesomeness
October 23, 2014
The new super thin iPad Air 2 is starting to get tepid reviews, most of which begrudgingly call it the "best tablet" in the market, while admitting it's boring. Instead of talking up all the great things about how it makes their lives better or fun, the focus is starting to turn to the glaringly obvious annoyances about what it doesn't do well at all.
Toll Fraud Can Take a Big Toll on SMBs
October 22, 2014
Toll fraud -- the hijacking of a phone system to dial out to premium numbers in distant countries at several dollars a minute -- costs companies more than $4.7 billion a year, up nearly $1 billion from 2011. Major carriers, such as the companies that make up the CFCA, have sophisticated fraud systems in place to catch hackers, and they can afford to credit customers for fraudulent charges.
Google Takes a Flyer on Magic Leap
October 21, 2014
Magic Leap on Tuesday announced that Google was the lead investor in a $542 million round of funding for its secret endeavors. Also participating were Qualcomm, Legendary Entertainment, KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures. Details are scarce about Magic Leap's forthcoming products, but they are likely proprietary wearable technology.
IBM's Earnings Miss Gives Wall Street the Willies
October 20, 2014
IBM's earnings slipped in Q3, sending its share prices sliding 7.11 percent to close Monday at $169.10. The company announced it is unloading its Microelectronics OEM semiconductor business and manufacturing operations to GlobalFoundries. IBM will pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take over the business. IBM's bleak news is being blamed for sending the overall Dow Jones Industrial Average south.
BBC to Preserve Memory of Its 'Forgotten' Articles
October 17, 2014
The BBC will publish and continually update a list of its published articles that were removed from Google searches under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards for the BBC, announced the move. The decision is a reaction to the EC ruling that search engines must remove "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" links upon request.
Netflix Drives Into a Ditch
October 17, 2014
Netflix stock closed Friday at $357, up slightly from the depths it plummeted to earlier this week. Shares fell almost 25 percent in premarket trading on Thursday -- more than $110 a share -- to $338. The plunge followed news of weak subscriber growth in its third quarter. Netflix reported $1.2 billion in Q3 revenue, which was up 38 percent from the same period a year prior.
No More Wireless Mergers? No Problem
October 16, 2014
Big news: The new wireless world in the United States, which has been led by AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, will stay exactly the same. That's right -- Iliad no longer is interested in T-Mobile. There will be no changes -- for now, anyway. So can we finally forget about all the merger distractions and focus on competing again? Please!
Wireless Carriers Could Take a Shine to Ad-Blocking
October 14, 2014
Shine Technologies may well upend the Net neutrality issue with the launch of AdSight, an ad-tracking product in development. AdSight reportedly will allow carriers to monitor the ads being delivered over their pipes. The data provided will be very granular, including who the ads are from and the level of individual ad impressions. The technology also will be able to block ads selectively.
The Double Irish Jig Is Up
October 14, 2014
Apple and other multinational companies that have been exploiting the notorious Double Irish tax loophole for years will have to look elsewhere for a comparable tax dodge. The Irish government's budget, presented on Tuesday by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, closes the loophole. The country's residency rules have been amended to require that all companies registered in Ireland be tax residents.
Snapchat Hackers Could Be Prosecuted for Child Porn Offenses
October 13, 2014
Private videos and pictures shared between tens of thousands of Snapchat users -- possibly as many as 200,000 -- were posted online by hackers over the weekend in an episode dubbed the "Snappening." Much of the content is sexual, including many nude photos -- some possibly of minors. The hackers appear to have gone for maximum embarrassment and humiliation with this particular breach.
Microsoft CEO Flip-Flops on Women Trusting Equal Pay to Karma
October 10, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has come under fire for comments he made on Thursday suggesting that women should trust in karma rather than ask for pay raises. "It's not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along," Nadella told a mostly female audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Tech Execs Issue Dire Warnings on Impact of NSA Surveillance
October 10, 2014
The NSA's wide-ranging surveillance of people's communications worldwide is hitting America's high-tech industry hard, said panelists on Wednesday at a roundtable held by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden in Palo Alto, California. Wyden set the tone from the start: "This is going to cost America jobs." Several foreign governments are planning to build domestic Internets.
One Way Around the Mobile Net Neutrality Conundrum
October 09, 2014
Verizon Wireless may be bitterly regretting the challenge Verizon made to the FCC's Net neutrality rules. There's little doubt competing wireless providers are. Verizon in 2010 sued the FCC over its mandate that ISPs treat all Internet data the same. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this year agreed with Verizon and struck down the rules. Now the FCC is putting it all back on the table.

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