? Episode 272
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  • Investigators from the FBI were expected to meet with Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton Monday following the massive weekend hack by a group called Gnosis that paralyzed the media company's website and temporarily forced it to stop publishing. Hackers had grabbed the passwords and e-mail addresses of more than 100,000 of the 1.3 million registered users of the snarky gossip site that dishes on the inside secrets and goings on in the media world through a variety of sites, including Gizmodo and Jezebel.
  • The UK's national security adviser Sir Peter Ricketts has warned that government websites could become the next target for pro-Wikileaks hackers. He told civil servants that websites used to file tax returns or claim benefits could be the most vulnerable. So far attacks from the Anonymous group of hacktivists have concentrated on firms perceived to be anti-Wikileaks. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces an extradition hearing in London on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told a press briefing that Sir Peter had spoken to permanent secretaries about the security of government websites in the light of pro-Wikileaks attacks.
  • Microsoft plans to introduce a range of new tablets powered by its Windows 7 operating system at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to a published report. The software maker, which is under pressure to produce a slate that can go head-to-head with Apple's iPad and devices powered by Google's Android OS, will unveil slates manufactured by OEM partners Dell and Samsung, according The New York Times. The Times, citing unnamed sources, said the Samsung devices would be "similar in size and shape" to the iPad, but not as thin and equipped with a slide-out keyboard. The newspaper did not offer details on the Dell device. Microsoft has not confirmed the report.
  • Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) testing program for its open source Chrome operating system is no ordinary beta. The company is inviting applications to be one of the reportedly 60,000 users who will be part of the beta test and receive a Cr-48 netbook loaded with Chrome OS. Google reportedly is signing up beta testers by U.S. ZIP code -- rather than on a first-come-first-served basis -- to get broad input. The Cr-48 black netbook has no logo. The package comes with a card from Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), which suggests it contains an Intel processor. The Cr-48 is built for cloud-based computing, so there is no indication of the size of the hard drive. The hardware has a few oddities. There is no caps lock key, but there is a search key. What sets the Cr-48 apart from other PCs is what it lacks. There are no function keys and there is only one USB port with limited functionality. With so many of the differences between the Chrome OS test hardware and Windows-based hardware, some of those testing the Cr-48 have compared it to the experience of using a smartphone. Because of this, testers have suggested the netbook with Chrome OS feels like a product that would sell in the US$150 to $200 range.
  • RIM picked up its first major North American online music store today with the launch of Amazon MP3 for BlackBerry. The app provides direct MP3 buying and focuses heavily on taking advantage of Amazon's deals, including daily free songs and discounted albums. The BlackBerry's messaging emphasis comes into play as it supports sharing song links over BlackBerry Messenger as well as e-mail, Facebook, text messages and Twitter. It ties directly into the BlackBerry's regular music collection and, on BlackBerry 6 phones like the Style, universal search for finding songs on the store. Downloads work both over 3G or other cellular links as well as through Wi-Fi.
  • Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has officially joined an industry group lobbying against rival Google Inc.'s (GOOG) proposed, $700 million acquisition of travel-information software firm ITA Software Inc. on antitrust grounds. The FairSearch.org coalition said Monday that Microsoft is among a handful of new members who will be demonstrating "concern around the world about the broader threat the Google-ITA deal poses to travel consumers." Google announced in July that it plans to purchase ITA Software, which provides travel information technology to Microsoft, AMR Corp.'s (AMR) American Airlines and others. That announcement drew concerns from rivals and critics who say Google could use its market power as a dominant search engine to hinder competition in the online travel industry. Google controls about 66% of the U.S. search market, according to comScore Inc. data, while Microsoft and Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) hold a combined, 28% share. FairSearch.org has estimated that Google now provides over 30% of all search engine traffic to online travel sites, as "the primary way Internet users navigate to U.S. industries online."
  • IBM's "Watson" computer will finally make its appearance on the "Jeopardy" in February, taking on two of the show's all-time winners over a three-day span. The game will test Watson's abilities to think in a human-like way, not only being able to retrieve information when requested-as is done with a normal Google search request-but also to go through its vast database of information, make the necessary connections and pick up on the subtle nuances, puns and riddles necessary to answer questions in Jeopardy.
  • Google today will unveil a software program that allows a smartphone to recognize its user's voice, dramatically increasing the effectiveness of verbal commands to search the Internet, send an e-mail or post a Facebook update. That's of growing importance to Google, which sees Internet searches on smartphones as a significant part of its business. While the company doesn't disclose specific numbers, one in four searches on Android devices are now done by voice, and the search volume on Android phones climbed by 50 percent in the first six months of 2010. "A lot of the world's information is spoken, and if Google's mission is to organize the world's information, it needs to include the world's spoken information," said Mike Cohen, who heads the company's speech efforts. Starting today, users of the latest Android-powered smartphones can allow Google to recognize the unique pattern of their speech by downloading a new app from the Android Market. The service gradually learns the patterns of a person's speech and eventually will more accurately understand their voice commands.
  • Facebook has revealed its top 10 trends in status updates for 2010. The most popular trend is a new acronym for hanging out. HMU, World Cup, Movies, iPad and iPhone 4, Haiti, Justin Bieber, Games on Facebook, Mineros/Miners, Airplanes, 2011

Email from listeners

  • Email from listeners- Isn't "Cloud Computing" just another name for "ASP", Application Service Provider? Or perhaps the evolution of the same concept? This concept of hosting the software remotely on someone else's server, and the acronym ASP, became popular about 8 years ago, as I recall. Isn't cloud computing essentially the same concept? Love your show. Listen every week.
  • Broadcast Sunday, December 19th, 2010
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