FTC appoints privacy researcher Soltani as chief technologist

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s new chief technologist is high-profile digital privacy consultant Ashkan Soltani, a move that signals the agency’s growing interest in policing online tracking and other Internet privacy issues.FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Tuesday she has appointed Soltani, a security researcher who shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for stories about the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, as the agency’s chief technologist.Soltani will join the FTC in November and offer advice on technology and policy issues, including digital privacy, an area in which the agency has increasingly focused on bringing enforcement actions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 1:10 pm

Twitter’s timestamp bug, Alec Baldwin and me

This morning I had my own encounter with a supposedly eradicated Twitter timestamp bug that once was responsible for sending the notoriously boorish actor Alec Baldwin into a homophobic rant over a newspaper allegation, later proven untrue, that his wife Hilaria had tweeted idle pleasantries while attending the funeral of Sopranos star James Gandolfini.Nothing the least bit dramatic occurred as a result of my run-in with the bug – unless head-scratching counts -- but the bug has not been eradicated, despite Twitter claims to the contrary, and how could I resist writing this post after a Google search on “Twitter timestamp wrong” turned up such a star-studded result. (Heck, they’d drum me out of the bloggers’ union if there was a bloggers’ union.)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 1:04 pm

NFC chip implants: First Apple, now this guy

Dangerous Things Dangerous Things' $99 13.56MHz ISO14443A & NFC Type 2 NTAG216 RFID chipset It's hard to steal Apple's thunder on anything these days, but a self-professed "body modification" enthusiast might have done just that: He's had an NFC chip implanted in his hand. Apple's near field communications (NFC) chip in its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones pales by comparison, no? Those phone chips lay the groundwork for the new Apple Pay mobile payments technology made available with the arrival of iOS 8.1 this week.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 12:50 pm

Carnegie Mellon: Bigger may not be better with battery makers

Interesting research here from Carnegie Mellon University researchers that says when it comes to lowering the cost of batteries for cars, developing mass production factories for their fabrication might not achieve lower costs as predicted. "Electric vehicle batteries are expensive. Federal and state governments have been subsidizing and mandating electric vehicle sales for years with the idea that increasing production volume will reduce costs and make these vehicles viable for mainstream consumers." Professor of Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering Jeremy Michalek, said in a statement about the Carnegie study appearing in the Journal of Power Sources this week.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 12:48 pm

Can privacy be respected when using mobile phones for Ebola contact tracing?

Along with Microsoft’s Azure cloud announcements, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned that academic institutions can apply for free Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources for Ebola research. “We have some tools that Microsoft researchers built to be able to do vaccine discovery, so we want to take all of that and make it available for the research community," Nadella said. Microsoft Research lists the Microsoft Azure Award for Ebola Research application instructions.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 11:54 am

Data warehouse-as-a-service startup Snowflake comes out of stealth

Stealth startup Snowflake is clandestine no longer, throwing off the wraps Tuesday morning with the announcement of a $26 million series B funding round and the rollout of a flagship product, which it’s calling the “elastic data warehouse.” The basic idea is to do for the data warehouse what Salesforce did for CRM – transforming the product from a piece of infrastructure that has to be maintained by IT into a service operated entirely by the provider. Snowflake is built on top of Amazon EC2, but customers will never need to deal with Amazon directly. +ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD: Microsoft (hearts) Linux, for Azure's sake +To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 10:54 am

Board-level Security Ratings Meets Threat Intelligence (BitSight Acquires AnubisNetworks)

With the recent avalanche of security breaches including Target, Home Depot, and JP Morgan Chase, cybersecurity companies have become financial darlings from Wall Street to Sand Hill Rd. Investors on both coasts are looking for the next major IPO or acquisition to cash in on the dangerous threat landscape.Along those lines, there was an interesting cybersecurity acquisition announced this morning. Massachusetts-based BitSight, a cybersecurity rating service provider, acquired AnubisNetworks, a threat intelligence firm based in Portugal. Now, it’s likely that the technical analysts in lower Manhattan and the Chardonnay-drinking VCs in Palo Alto will overlook this low-dollar merger, but there is more here than money alone. The combination of BitSight and Anubis has the potential to unite alien populations – business and technology groups. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 10:31 am

One week after patch, Flash vulnerability already exploited in large-scale attacks

If you haven’t updated your Flash Player with the fixes released on Oct. 14, you may be vulnerable to new attacks using a commercial exploit kit called Fiesta, security researchers warn.The vulnerability, which is being tracked as CVE-2014-0569 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database, was fixed in Flash Player updates last week.The bundling of an exploit for CVE-2014-0569 in an attack tool that’s sold on underground markets is unusual, especially since the vulnerability was privately reported to Adobe through Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) program, meaning its details should not be public.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 9:50 am

Microsoft partners with Docker to bring containers to Windows Server

Docker, the open source software company and product of the same name that allows developers to build, distribute, and run distributed applications, is bringing its software to the next version of Windows Server thanks to a new deal with Microsoft.The Docker software provides a layer of abstraction and automation of operating system–level virtualization features on Linux, thereby isolating the resources of the kernel in containers. It uses less in the way of system resources, which translates into lower overhead than virtual machines. You can run multiple containers on one server and define how much memory, CPU, and network I/O is given to each container.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 9:01 am

Why do cell phones still suck for calling?

Calling is probably only a small percentage of what the average smartphone is used for today, but you would think that with all the advances in mobile tech, this still critical function would have gotten better too.Ha!Connections are still spotty, voice quality often stinks, and you don’t have to think back too far to remember the last time you had a call drop.The IEEE’s Spectrum magazine just published a good article on the subject, “All smart, no phone: Cellular carriers are dragging their heels over technology to improve voice quality,” that identifies the core problems and the technology fixes that can help.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:52 am

Review: Android 5.0 'Lollipop' is everything I hoped it would be

A few hours ago I flashed the latest preview version of Android 5.0 (aka "L," aka "Lollipop") onto my trusty old Nexus 7 tablet. Devices aren't scheduled to actually start getting updated to 5.0 for a few more weeks – and many devices may never see this version – but I'm impatient. So I took the plunge and flashed my tablet manually.And, holy moly, is Lollipop fantastic. (I originally wrote "This is one delicious Lollipop"...but then I immediately felt like a bad person for writing something so horrendously dorky. So I deleted it with extreme prejudice.)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:43 am

Sprint cuts 452 HQ jobs in IT, network and technology areas

Sprint recently cut 452 jobs from its headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., an amount that equals about 6% of the 7,500 workers there.The company is expected to make more job cuts this month, including from other locations in the U.S., further lowering the ranks of its 33,000-person work force. Since January, the company has cut its ranks by about 5,000, from 38,000.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: 12 most powerful Internet of Things companies The latest headquarters cuts were in IT and portfolio management and Sprint’s network, technology and product areas, according to a statement by spokesperson Roni Singleton. Some employees will work their last day on Nov. 7 and others will finish Nov. 14.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:39 am

Staples confirms data breach investigation

Monday evening, investigative journalist Brian Krebs reported that multiple banking sources were seeing a pattern of credit and debit card fraud. The common thread between each case were purchases made at Staples Inc. stores in the Northeastern U.S.There isn't a lot to go on if in fact the latest retailer to be breached is Framingham, Mass.-based Staples Inc.MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Free security tools you should try What's known for sure comes from the sources that spoke on background to Krebs. They said the fraudulent transactions were traced to cards that made purchases at Staples stores in Pennsylvania, New York City, and New Jersey.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:35 am

Cyber insurance: Worth it, but beware of the exclusions

It’s what all sensible people do to mitigate the risk of catastrophic financial damage: Buy insurance. There’s not even a choice when it comes to auto and health risks – insurance is a legal mandate. And most people would agree that anyone with a house who does not carry homeowner’s insurance is a fool or fabulously wealthy.So, why not cyber insurance?Indeed, the case for it is compelling. The costs of data breaches are in the millions and rising fast. As the Ponemon Institute put it in a synopsis of one of its recent reports on the issue, “data breaches have become as common as a cold, but far more expensive to treat.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:33 am

Bottom line: Should you upgrade to OS X Yosemite?

Recently we’ve covered OS X Yosemite up one side and down the other. Read through our guides for installing Yosemite; getting familiar with the new operating system’s design; putting Handoff and Continuity to good use; and learning about changes to Safari, Notification Center, Spotlight, and Mail, Messages, and Calendars. That should give you a pretty fair idea of the changes Apple has wrought with Yosemite. Equipped with this knowledge it’s time to ask the important question: Should I update or not?To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:28 am

11 ways to re-energize your IT career

Stuck in the middle -- and blue?Image by ThinkstockEric Reed knows a thing or two about mid-career pitfalls. He's seen some mid-level IT managers get too enamored with technology for its own sake, rather than viewing it as a way to advance business goals. Other would-be leaders didn't know how to communicate or collaborate with non-IT colleagues and were sidelined as techies rather than ID'd as future business leaders.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:24 am

Free videoconferencing tools: 5 creative ways they can help you get things done

A free videoconferencing tool belongs in any productivity kit, and not just for meetings. Used creatively, the combination of webcams and collaboration features can help you streamline other tasks and interactions in your workday, in ways you might never have considered. + ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD 10 videoconferencing tools for small groups + Here are five extra ways you can put a free system to work for you.Host Shorter, Smaller Meetings At many companies, mammoth meetings with dozens of participants are the norm, yet managers and attendees alike complain that meetings are disruptive and ineffective. In BusinessWeek, consultants Bob Frisch and John Peck write that the ideal number of participants in a meeting where decisions are being made is just three to six people, a figure that fits in pretty well with the limits on many free videoconferencing tools. You can use such a tool to force yourself to keep the invitation list small.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:21 am

BrandPost: 4G LTE is a strong WAN access contender (and not just because of the bandwidth!)

When cellular services reached broadband speeds, they started inching into the enterprise WAN access network. The availability of widespread 3G services and 3G line cards for routers saw some enterprise sites plugging into 3G as a landline backup, for example. With the widespread availability of 4G LTE services, the wireless WAN will undoubtedly grow even more popular for these and other applications.And it’s not just because of the speed boost.Sure, 4G LTE is up to about 20 times faster than 3G. And about 100 times faster than a T1 circuit. Impressive, but perhaps more intriguing is that all 4G services are IP based – including voice. 3G networks still run circuit-switched voice services and IP for data services without the ability to apply intelligent, Layer 3 networking services to them.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 8:00 am

Continuity, cannibals, and Apple Pay: 6 key takeaways from Apple's Q4 earnings

The news was nearly all sunshine during Apple’s fourth-quarter 2014 earnings call on Monday, with sluggish iPad sales the one black spot on the otherwise blazing sun of record-setting revenue. You can listen to the whole call, including the question-and-answer session with analysts, but if that doesn’t sound like the most riveting way to spend an hour, don’t worry: these are the things that you need to know.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 7:49 am

Mac revenue tops iPad as Apple sells record 5.5M computers

Apple said it sold a record 5.5 million Macs in the September quarter, boosting sales by 21% year-over-year during a stretch when the overall personal computer business remained in the red.The Cupertino, Calif., company sold 6.2% more Macs in the quarter than the previous record of 5.2 million set three years ago.The Mac's $6.6 billion in revenue was its most ever, and its 16% of the company's total revenue of $42.1 billion was the highest since the September quarter of 2011. Apple For the second straight quarter, the ASP, or average selling price, of Apple's Mac line dropped and sales climbed.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 7:47 am

Nadella's 2014 comp package tops $84M

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may have been on the job only eight months, but his compensation package for 2014 topped $84 million, according to regulatory filings Monday.And if Microsoft's shares beat the S&P 500 index, Nadella could earn far more, as much as $355 million in stock awards alone over the next seven years.For Microsoft's fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, Nadella received nearly $919,000 in salary, $3.6 million as a cash bonus, and more than $79 million in share awards, the company said in a proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 7:44 am

Candidates for EU's data protection job heard by the European Parliament

The European Union is finally moving to replace its data protection supervisor, after Members of the European Parliament interviewed the five candidates shortlisted for the roles of EU data protection supervisor and assistant supervisor on Monday.A parliamentary committee is set to name its favorites for the posts on Tuesday evening, with one MEP on the committee tipping a Frenchman and a Pole for the roles based on their interview performances.Replacing the supervisor is particularly important because the EU is in the middle of a data protection reform and the next European Commission, which is set to take its seat on Nov. 1, is planning to finalize negotiations on the EU’s new data protection package within six months.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 6:55 am

Alibaba's mobile OS in China boosted by Meizu partnership

Android may still be the most popular mobile OS in China, but local e-commerce giant Alibaba Group continues to offer its own alternative, and has just landed its biggest partner yet.Chinese smartphone maker Meizu will use Alibaba’s YunOS mobile operating system to power its own handsets, it announced Tuesday. Previously, Meizu ran a customized version of Android called Flyme OS on its smartphones, but said Alibaba’s software could offer better security and performance, including longer battery life.It’s unclear if Meizu will abandon Android, or keep it in use. The company has created a new version of Flyme running on Alibaba’s YunOS.Unveiled over three years ago, YunOS is a Linux-based operating system that Alibaba originally envisioned as a way to promote the company’s e-commerce services. The software, however, has struggled to attract better-known hardware vendors. In recent quarters, the operating system has had a market share of less than 1 percent, said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst with research firm IDC.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 5:35 am

Your online TV watching is now being tracked across devices

Showing all viewers the same commercial six minutes into, say, an episode of “Modern Family” might soon be over. If you’re watching it online. A new partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe was announced early Tuesday, presenting detailed data about how people watch TV and other media on the Internet. The team-up adds smarts to existing forms of tracking, by letting broadcasters get a better picture of how Internet users consume media across devices and platforms. With the service, partnered broadcasters could see, for instance, if viewers began watching a show on Netflix on their laptop, then switched to a Roku set-top box to finish it. And then read an article on ESPN.com.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 5:00 am

Top unified communications vendors eye virtual reality in the conference room

The leading unified communications (UC) vendors are taking a hard look at the opportunities for virtual reality in the conference room or the boardroom.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here(Insider Story)

Posted by on 21 October 2014 | 5:00 am