Personal data on 50,000 Uber drivers exposed in breach

The names and license plate numbers of about 50,000 Uber drivers were compromised in a security breach last year, the company revealed Friday.Uber discovered a possible breach of its systems in September, and a subsequent investigation revealed an unauthorized third party had accessed one of its databases four months earlier, the company said.The files accessed held the names and license plate numbers of about 50,000 current and former drivers, which Uber described as a “small percentage” of the total. About 21,000 of the affected drivers are in California. The company has several hundred thousand drivers altogether.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 5:20 pm

As tech and recording industries seek harmony, Google invests in music publisher Kobalt

Google’s venture arm has invested in Kobalt, a music publishing firm that counts Beck, Paul McCartney and the Foo Fighters among its clients.The US$60 million venture round also includes funding from the personal investment firm of Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell.Kobalt handles payment of royalties to singers and songwriters from streaming services like Spotify and video sharing sites like YouTube.Artists are concerned about how they’re compensated when people consume music via streaming services, Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris told the Guardian newspaper. Kobalt’s technology can lessen musicians’ concerns about how they’ll get paid, he said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 4:45 pm

White House privacy proposal aims to give consumers control over data

U.S. businesses that collect personal data would be required to describe their privacy and security practices and give consumers control over their personal information under a proposed privacy bill of rights released Friday by President Barack Obama’s administration.The proposal would also require companies and nonprofit groups to collect and retain only the personal data they need to operate.However, the proposal allows industry groups to submit their own codes of conduct to the Federal Trade Commission and shields companies that follow those codes from FTC enforcement actions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 4:35 pm

Ractive aims to bring Web programming to the masses

The developers of a JavaScript library for building interactive user interfaces are hoping their work will make Web programming more accessible for part-time programmers.The library, Ractive.js, provides a set of capabilities typically found in complex Web application frameworks, which require a fair amount of expertise to manage, said Rich Harris, one of the creators of Ractive and a digital journalist at the British newspaper The Guardian.Harris, who presented the technology at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Applicative conference in New York, demonstrated the capabilities of Ractive and discussed the current state of tools for building Web sites, which he described as too abstract and complex for non-programmers wanting to create their own sites.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 3:45 pm

Google's new campus plans hint at staggering ambitions

Google has revealed eye-popping ideas for a redesign of its California headquarters that symbolize how far the company wants to move beyond its core search business. Plans submitted Friday to the Mountain View City Council include lightweight block-like structures—not stationary concrete buildings—that can be moved around as the company invests in new product areas. These areas now include self-driving cars, solar-powered drones and robots. Google’s self-driving car team, for instance, has different needs than search engineers, the company said in revealing its plans.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 3:30 pm

IDG Contributor Network: How to keep cybercriminals out of your apps

Cybercriminals had a fantastic time in 2014 – breaching major retailers such as Home Depot and Kmart, major financial institutions (notably JPMorgan Chase), and a slew of smaller companies.Indeed, cybercrimes are growing more common, more costly, and taking longer to resolve. Those are among the key findings of the fifth annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of HP Enterprise Security.The 2014 global study of U.S.-based companies, which spanned seven nations, found that over the course of a year the average cost of cybercrime climbed by more than 9% to $12.7 million for companies in the United States, up from $11.6 million in the 2013 study. The average time to resolve a cyberattack is also rising, climbing to 45 days, up from 32 days in 2013.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 3:25 pm

11 technologies that tick off Linus Torvalds

Image by Aalto UniversityEditor's Note: If you are unable to advance to the next slide, try disabling AdBlock. We apologize for the inconvenience.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 3:09 pm

8 great ways to celebrate Raspberry Pi’s 3rd birthday

Happy Pi Day!Image by Shutterstock/Stephen SauerHas it really been three years? The Raspberry Pi has been through several updates, new models and sold more than 5 million units since its launch in February 2012 – sounds like a good excuse for a party to us! Here are some suggestions for a fun Pi Day.Play EliteOne of the major early backers of the Raspberry Pi project was David Braben, PC gaming pioneer and creator of the classic spaceship title Elite. An open-source version, Oolite, is still available to play for free, but if you’ve got money and a modern computer, you might try the swanky, impressive new reboot, Elite: Dangerous.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 3:06 pm

With expansion into West Africa, VMK ignites Africa-designed brands competition

By opening its first store in the Ivory Coast, VMK, based in the Republic of the Congo, is taking a big step in its expansion plans and potentially setting up a designed-in-Africa brand competition with RLG.VMK has up to now offered products manufactured in China but has plans to start making phones in Africa. RLG, which has global headquarters in Dubai, runs its West African phone-assembling operation from Ghana.VMK’s move into West Africa from its Central Africa base in Brazzaville coincided with the Ivory Coast’s launch of a project aimed at equipping 500,000 families with a computer or a tablet, plus an Internet broadband connection.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 12:25 pm

Google reverses decision to limit sexually explicit content on Blogger

Google will continue to permit sexually explicit content to be publicly shared on Blogger, reversing a policy change it announced earlier this week.Instead of making blogs with adult content private, the search giant will “step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn,” Google said Friday in a post on its product support page.On Tuesday, Google said it was adopting a more stringent stance in how adult content was shared on its blogging platform. According to the new policy, after March 23, blogs that displayed either sexually explicit images and videos or graphic nudity would be changed to private blogs. Access to these sites would be restricted to people who received an invitation from the owners. The content, however, would not be deleted. To keep their blogs in the public realm, owners had to delete the explicit videos and images.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 12:20 pm

Review: LibreOffice 4.4 raises the bar

The developers behind LibreOffice, the free and open source productivity suite forked from OpenOffice, have sweated and bled to advance the toolkit over the past couple of years. The effort has paid off: It’s a no-brainer to recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice, thanks to Libre’s consistent release schedule and the increasingly polished quality of the product.Now for the bigger question: Can you recommend LibreOffice in the same breath as Microsoft Office? The short answer: Maybe. To its credit, LibreOffice 4.4 handles old- and new-school Microsoft Office documents better than ever before -- no small feat considering how prohibitively complex such documents can be. If you plan on using LibreOffice as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office, know that document compatibility is still a roll of the dice -- but with each revision LibreOffice is improving the odds.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:45 am

Apple Watch will start your car one day, Tim Cook says

While we count down the days until the Apple Watch is (presumably) revealed at Apple’s “Spring forward” event March 9, more details about the much-anticipated wearable continue to dribble out. For instance, the smartwatch was designed to be able to replace your car keys—though it’s unlikely that functionality will be turned on at launch. Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Telegraph that when it ships, Apple Watch will let you filter messages, give you credits for meeting exercise goals, and accompany you in the shower. Cook also said the battery life will last all day and will take less time to charge than the iPhone using the new MagSafe-style wireless inductive charger. It’s unclear exactly how long the battery will last—recent reports indicate Apple is aiming for 19 hours of combined active and passive usage—or how long it will take to charge, but we’ll find out soon.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:43 am

Yahoo gains U.S. search share on the back of Firefox

New measurements show that Yahoo continued to improve its share of the U.S. search market after striking a deal last year with Mozilla, the maker of Firefox. According to comScore, which publishes monthly stats on search share, Yahoo gained 1.2 percentage points in January, climbing to 13%. It was the second straight month of increases for Yahoo. Yahoo's growth came largely at the expense of Google, which dropped 1 percentage point during January. Google accounted for 64.4% of the U.S. search share last month. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Bing remained flat at 19.7%. Since November 2014, when Yahoo partnered with Mozilla to make its search engine the default for U.S. Firefox users, Yahoo's share has grown by 2.8 percentage points, representing a 28% increase.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:41 am

Google tests business Hangouts in search results

Using Hangouts, Google is testing a search feature that enables users to conduct live chats with businesses directly from their search results. Google confirmed to Computerworld that it is running a test on the technology, but declined to offer any specific details about the size of the test or which businesses are participating. Matt Gibstein seems to be the first one who spotted the test, tweeting, "Super interesting: @Google search now offering the ability to chat with local businesses (a la @Path Talk)." The feature has a live chat, or Hangout, feature pop up in the search results if a business has someone available to communicate with the user. The Hangout can be launched on a desktop system or mobile device.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:40 am

FTC: Imposter scams bully into top 3 consumer complaints spot

Imposter scams where rip-off artists impersonate IRS, FBI or other official has moved into third place – its highest placement on the Federal Trade Commission’s annual evaluation of consumer complaints.+More on Network World: Wireless cyber security in your car stinks+The jump in the 2014 FTC list is a significant indication of how widespread the imposter scams have become. The Federal Trade Commission said the number of consumer complaints about criminals impersonating IRS officials was nearly 24 times more than in 2013.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:25 am

Funniest video about Boston winter e-vah

I’d pay good money to watch Ken Burns watch this hilarious YouTube video: “Facebook Statuses About the Boston Snowstorm With Sad Civil War Fiddle Music.” (Some NSFW language.) Thanks, Safety Whale Comedy Collective; we needed that.One of the voices on the video, actor and filmmaker Harry Aspinwall, tells me the back story via email: “My friend Luke Palmer made it after I wrote the final quote, about eating dogs and so on, as a Facebook status. He commented by posting Ashokan Farewell (the fiddle piece, which has been used in Ken Burns' stuff about the Civil War) and it sort of went from there. He got me to record the male voices.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 11:06 am

Avaya takes a unique approach to ease the pain of SDN migrations

In the movie, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Spock's older brother, Sybok, had telepathic abilities and he could feel people's pain by touching them. In the movie he would say, "share your pain with me and gain strength from sharing." Sybok was a deeply religious Vulcan and, in the movie, sought out to find "Sha Ka Ree," the Vulcan equivalent of Eden, where everything began. Nirvana, if you will.In the networking industry, software defined networks (SDN) are supposed to bring the networking equivalent of Sha Ka Ree. However, I don't need to be a Vulcan telepath to understand customers' pain when it comes to SDNs. Almost every network professional I talk to today has an interest in SDN. However, the majority of businesses feel that deploying a software defined network is too complicated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 10:45 am

The FCC's net neutrality rules: What we know so far

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to pass new net neutrality rules and reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service, but the text of the full order may not be released for several weeks. Here’s what we know so far:What’s next?The new rules take effect 60 days after the full order is published in the Federal Register, the official journal of the U.S. government. The FCC has some procedural hoops to clear before publishing the text, including drafting responses to the dissents by the FCC’s two Republican commissioners. So publication may not come for months.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 10:15 am

IDG Contributor Network: Smartphones charge in a minute with bio-battery

Better batteries? In the words of one Reddit user: "OMG, not this again."But wait, there's more, as the expression goes. There's a reason that new battery technology piques our interest whenever we hear about it. Batteries are the last insurmountable hindrance to the seductive idea of total nomadism and blissful un-tethered freedom.Murphy's LawBatteries are one technology that haven't really seen a Moore's law-esque periodic doubling of capacity. Moore's law says that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 9:33 am

BrandPost: Forget Disaster Recovery, Try Avoidance

When Snowmageddon hit the Northeast this January, it put a crimp on a lot of organizations’ abilities to continue with business as usual. After all, the always-on business starts with uninhibited access to critical communication tools and unless your business communications are really 100 percent in the cloud, you will have trouble accessing what you need in situations like this.As snow rapidly piled up at rates well beyond what plows could handle, major roadways like the Massachusetts Turnpike closed and office environments were forced into temporary closure situations. According to some reports the snow-forced shutdown of federal offices in Washington DC alone cost an estimated $450 million in lost productivity. Of course, some think this is where disaster recovery plans can prove quite useful in helping organizations get back on track, rescheduling meetings and finding ways to keep the wheel of progress moving. I don’t necessarily agree.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 9:27 am

IDG Contributor Network: Mobile apps that have changed my life: Blinkist

Sometimes mobile apps make such a profound impact on my life, I just have to share the news with everyone I can. In that regard, I am going to create this new series here at Networking Nuggets of Knowledge on just that topic. First up is an app I am simply loving lately called Blinkist. Perhaps not the best name because I sure have trouble remembering it, but certainly a life-changing mobile app. Blinkist offers summaries of great nonfiction books' key insights in a made-for-mobile format. I have been learning something new every day, or at least everyday that I need to drive somewhere. Yes, most of the summaries are available in audio format during your free trial, though you need a Premium membership for the audio function after the trial has run up.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 9:10 am

Samsung and HTC have a lot to prove with Sunday smartphone launches

Samsung Electronics and HTC are going head to head on Sunday with almost simultaneous launches of new flagship smartphones. Both companies have a lot to prove, but for different reasons.“Samsung is fighting for its credibility and HTC for its survival,” said Neil Mawston , executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics, speaking of the duelling events ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.Mawston thinks Samsung’s critics have been a bit too harsh on the company. Despite the shortcomings of the Galaxy S5, it was the second-best-selling phone last year, beaten only by the iPhone 5S. However, the S5 wasn’t able to live up to expectations, and Samsung is now under pressure to launch something special.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 7:15 am

Fresh from $532.9M win, Smartflash sues Apple again

Shortly after a jury in Texas awarded it US$532.9 million in damages in a patent dispute with Apple, patent company Smartflash has sued the iPhone maker again, this time to focus on newer Apple products."Apple has released new products that came out too late for inclusion in Smartflash's previous action against Apple," Smartflash's attorney Bradley W. Caldwell said in an email Thursday.The company sued Apple and others in May 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler division, alleging that iTunes software infringed on six of its patents related to serving and managing access to data.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 7:04 am

Survey: iPhone 6 powers an increase in enterprise adoption of iOS

Apple's iOS mobile platform gained user share in security-conscious businesses late in 2014, taking it away from Google's Android platform, thanks to the introduction of the iPhone 6 smartphone, according to a survey of its enterprise customers by mobile security vendor Good Technology.Good's customers increased their activation of iOS devices -- meaning enrollment in the Good movie management server -- to 73 percent; iOS devices accounted for 69 percent of activations in the previous quarter. Over the same period, Android activations declined from 29 percent to to 25 percent.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 7:02 am

IBM to pump $4 billion into cloud, mobile and analytics

IBM will dedicate $4 billion in spending this year to the cloud, analytics and mobile technologies, as it struggles with seismic shifts that are changing the computing landscape it once dominated, In return, by 2018 IBM expects to reap a combined $40 billion in annual revenue from the areas in which it's investing, which also include social and security, the company said at an annual meeting on Thursday. It could use the growth. IBM's sales declined to about $93 billion last year, from just over $98 billion in 2013, thanks to declines in some of its traditional businesses and the sale of two big hardware divisions to Lenovo and GlobalFoundries.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 February 2015 | 7:00 am