Spliddit: Algorithms to divide the rent, stuff, or credit fairly between people

I’ve gone out for lunch with Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice and now it’s time to settle the bill. I only had a chicken salad and a soda but Bob had a steak and a beer, Carol had the pasta special and a glass of wine, and Ted a burger and coffee, while Alice just had toast and a glass of water. No surprise, now we can't agree on how much each person should pay ...This isn't unusual because people generally aren’t very good at figuring our what’s a fair split so unless everyone is cool and agrees to simply divide the bill by the number of people it becomes a real pain. Think that's bad? Try dividing assets after a death or during a divorce; figuring out what’s fair often winds up usually becomes a knock 'em down and drag 'em out war of attrition.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 22 November 2014 | 4:35 pm

Apple's $450 million e-books settlement gets final approval

A federal judge in New York has given final approval to a settlement in which Apple will pay $450 million for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices for ebooks.Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan called the settlement “fair and reasonable.” It requires Apple to pay $400 million to consumers who bought certain books between 2010 and 2012, as well as $50 million in attorneys’ fees.Although the settlement is final, Apple only has to pay that amount if it loses its appeal of a 2013 price-fixing ruling. If the appeal is successful, Apple will pay only $50 million to ebook purchasers and $20 million to attorneys.A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for Dec. 15 in Manhattan. Lawyers for the ebook buyers have said they “strongly believe” that Apple’s appeal won’t be successful.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 7:05 pm

Reports: EU taking first step towards breaking up Google

Members of the European Parliament are readying a motion calling for the break-up of Google, by separating its search engine functionality from other commercial services, according to news reports.A draft resolution calling for the break-up should be finalized early next week, with a vote potentially on Thursday, according to a report from The Financial Times. While the European Parliament has no formal power to break up the company, a vote to split Google could put pressure on the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.The motion is backed by several German politicians and by the Parliament’s two largest political blocs, the European People’s Party and the Socialists, according to the newspaper. The Reuters news agency also reported on the plan.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 4:05 pm

Black Friday: Newegg axes prices on laptops, desktops, tablets and more

Asus Chromebook Online retailer Newegg has beaten the Black Friday 2014 rush by revealing deals on brand name laptops, desktops, tablets and other products geared toward both hardcore gamers and everyday tech users.Newegg says the deals will roll out between now and Black Friday, which has really stretched into nearly a month-long affair with the likes of Walmart, Best Buy and others sneak-peaking deals on everything from iPhone 6 smartphones to Xbox game bundles.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 3:47 pm

US man sentenced for hacking POS systems at Subway

A former Subway franchise owner will spend time in prison for hacking into computerized cash registers he sold to the sandwich restaurant chain and obtaining more than US$40,000 in gift cards.U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns sentenced Shahin Abdollahi, also known as Sean Holdt, 46, of Lake Elsinore, California, to 18 months in prison. The judge also ordered him to pay more than $34,700 in restitution. Sentencing was Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.Abdollahi pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.Abdollahi owned Subway franchises in Southern California, and later operated a California company called POS Doctor, which sold and installed point-of-sale computer systems to Subway franchises around the country, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 2:15 pm

IT modernization project makes the grade at North Carolina colleges

The opportunity to save money, power and space is driving a multi-campus infrastructure modernization project within North Carolina Community Colleges (NCCC), a network of 58 institutions serving more than 800,000 students. So far 14 colleges throughout the state have upgraded to new servers that are more energy efficient, use less space and deliver higher performance than the systems they’re replacing.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here(Insider Story)

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 2:07 pm

FCC chairman gives no timeline for net neutrality decision

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has no public timeline for voting on proposed net neutrality rules, despite pressure from President Barack Obama and some net neutrality advocates.FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler declined to give a target date for a net neutrality vote when asked Friday by reporters, saying instead that the agency is working to make sure that any rules would hold up to an almost inevitable court challenge.“The big dogs are going to sue, regardless of what comes out,” Wheeler said. “We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules. That starts with making sure that we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that have come along.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 1:35 pm

Connected-home Babel: There's an app for that, startup says

In the dream home of the Internet of Things, all your appliances would talk to each other. A fragmented IoT industry makes that pretty hard today, but Yonomi says its smartphone app can make it easy.The free app ties together smart-home devices that can’t communicate directly with each other and lets them work in concert. In the Yonomi app, users can set up routines involving several devices, such as having the lights go off if your fitness band detects that you’ve fallen asleep. Instead of making users buy and install a hub that can talk to multiple systems, Yonomi uses the phone as that hub.Yonomi is designed for the “casually connected consumer” who wants a network of things but doesn’t want to buy a hub, CEO and Co-Founder Kent Dickson said. He demonstrated the app at Demo in San Jose, where the company debuted this week. An Android version is available now, and iPhone users can sign up for a beta test of a future iOS version.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 1:30 pm

Why It Sometimes Makes Sense to Go Slow With Mobile Development

Mobile app development is usually cheap, fast and dirty: Introduce some functionality and fix the problems over time. At Westinghouse Electric, however, there's no room for error in the development of a tablet application critical for testing the nuclear power facilities it builds for electricity providers around the world.Westinghouse's new all-digital AP1000 nuclear power plants undergo two years of rigorous testing of their 100 systems. And the development of an application to streamline that process is also expected to take that long, on top of two years already spent searching for the right mobile development partner and toolkit. Work began this year with vendor Copper Mobile, and the application won't be live until 2016.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 1:26 pm

Apple delivers another Yosemite beta as WiFi issues persist

Apple has come out with a second beta of Mac OS X Yosemite for developers, but it's not clear whether this latest build will address the WiFi problems that continue to affect an undetermined but apparently substantial number of users. With this build, labeled 10.10.2 (14C68k), Apple didn't identify any specific problem areas it would like developers to focus on as they test the OS, according to multiple reports from news outlets and individuals with access to the release notes. When Apple released the first beta of Yosemite little over two weeks ago, it asked developers to pay particular attention to several issues, including WiFi, which has been a constant source of complaints since the OS came out.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 1:22 pm

Air Force evaluating high-frequency, focused mobile networks

The Air Force this week said it was looking into the technologies like advanced antennae and amplifiers it would take to build high frequency, directional mobile networks.The idea is to develop networks that can be focused point to point to make more efficient use of higher bandwidth – over 500Mhz –which could make such nets less prone to interference and jamming while at the same time increase capacity.+More on Network World: Gartner: Top 10 Technology Trends for 2015 IT can’t ignore+In its Request For Information, the Air Force said this so-called directional networking would focus a greater amount of radiated energy on an intended receiver through a combination of transmitter and/or receiver aperture improvement.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 1:17 pm

App o’ the week: Simplenote makes keeping and sharing lists easy (and free)

For a project I’m working on I needed to share a list of to-do’s with my business partner. We were using a basic CRM solution but that turned out to be a little too much for what was a very simple list. After a little research I decided to try a free application, Simplenote published by Automattic, and much to my delight I found I’d stumbled over the perfect solution.Simplenote is available as a free app for iOS, Android, OS X, and Kindle (but not for Windows) and can be accessed from the Web. On the Web site there are references to a premium plan but I couldn’t find any further information; it appears that they may have dropped this version .To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 11:30 am

UpCloud bets on storage performance, US datacenter to dent market

It may be a minnow in a market of whales, but Finnish cloud service company UpCloud is hoping that improving its storage performance and adding datacenter capacity in Chicago will make customers take a look.The cloud arena has become very competitive, but there still is room for smaller companies that can find a way to stand out. While UpCloud, which expanded operations outside its native Finland last year, can’t compete with Amazon Web Services’ range of services, it believes it can still distinguish itself as a provider of cloud-based servers and storage.“We believe very strongly that the cloud isn’t a commodity, because behind the price there are multiple decisions on how services are produced that all affect performance,” said CEO Antti Vilpponen.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 11:10 am

Critical XSS flaws patched in WordPress and popular plug-in

New security updates released for the WordPress content management system and one of its popular plug-ins fix cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to take control of websites.The WordPress development team released Thursday WordPress 4.0.1, 3.9.3, 3.8.5 and 3.7.5 as critical security updates.The 3.9.3, 3.8.5 and 3.7.5 updates address an XSS vulnerability in the comment boxes of WordPress posts and pages. An attacker could exploit this flaw to create comments with malicious JavaScript code embedded in them that would get executed by the browsers of users seeing those comments.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 10:45 am

Incapsula estimates DDoS attacks cost $40,000 per hour

This column is available in a weekly newsletter called IT Best Practices.  Click here to subscribe.  In my daily routine I go to a variety of websites to gather information and news. I've noticed that recently, two of my regular sites have been totally unavailable from time to time. It seems this lasts for an hour or more and then the site is open for business again. While I don't know for sure, I suspect that these websites could be victims of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.According to Incapsula, DDoS attacks occur much more frequently than many people suspect. Incapsula just released its 2014 DDoS Impact Report, which found that nearly half (45%) of all companies have been hit by a DDoS attack at one time or another. Of these, almost all (91%) reported an attack during the last 12 months, and over two-thirds (70%) were targeted two or more times. It's possible that my regular news sites are among those repeat victims.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 10:28 am

BrandPost: Innovating with 4G

Having a 4G wireless WAN interface on your router could help you dream up all kinds of innovative ideas for your business. You can set up connections pretty fast and move them around without much hassle. This is the kind of flexibility that lets you use IT to innovate.In addition to using 4G for routing diversity to back up your wired connections – a backhoe won’t take out your wireless link! – you can connect a temporary construction or event site. Or quickly get bandwidth for a demo at a trade show.You’ve likely also heard about the Internet of Things, consisting mostly of machine-to-machine applications. Here are just a few 4G IoT uses broken out by industry:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 10:00 am

EU net neutrality legislation under threat from Italian proposals, says rights group

European Union legislation on net neutrality is under threat, as Italy is seeking to water down a draft already adopted by the European Parliament, a digital rights group has warned.Italy’s proposals include removing the very definition of net neutrality, and allowing differential charging for services, according to preparatory documents for the Nov. 27 EU Council meeting of telecommunications ministers, at which the issue is due to be discussed.The leaked information note and its annex were obtained by European digital rights group EDRi and show that Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, has proposed that member states agree on a weakened form of net neutrality.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 9:20 am

20+ Jaw-Dropping Black Friday 2014 Tech Deals

Word is that more retailers will relent to public pressure – I mean do the right thing for their employees – and close on Thanksgiving Day this year. But that won’t prevent them from going all out online, where much is automated and the workers are less prominent. Here are some of the best deals on network and technology offerings for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and in between. (Compare with last year’s deals)To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 8:11 am

Google launching 20 Internet balloons per day

Yesterday we wrote about a South African farmer finding one of Google’s Project Loon Internet balloons crashed on his property. Coincidentally – or at least I assume it was a coincidence – the Project Loon team yesterday issued a progress report in a blog post. Seems Google is now launching 20 of these balloons every day and, according to the company, they’re remaining aloft 10 times longer than they were last year, with 100 days now normal and 130 days being the record. From that blog post:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 8:08 am

WebRTC close to tipping point as Cisco, Microsoft announce products

It was all the way back in the Spring of 2011 that Google released WebRTC, its nascent real-time, browser-based, HTML5-powered, no-plugin-required video chat project to the public. In the three and a half years since, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the W3C have been working together to try to formalize the standard, prepare the stable 1.0 release, and get it ready for prime time.That prime time has been a long time coming: Plenty of startups, notable among them Vidyo and Twilio, have taken to WebRTC as the protocol that helps them offer video chat from modern browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. But while the big technology vendors have offered their support, guidance, and code commits, very few have taken the leap to actually doing anything major with it. Even Google only changed its flagship Hangouts messaging tool over from a plugin to WebRTC this past July. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 8:01 am

NotCompable sets new standards for mobile botnet sophistication

The NotCompatible mobile malware has reached a new level of sophistication, according to a new report from San Francisco-based mobile security company Lookout, Inc.The malware was first detected in 2012, but the newly discovered variant, NotCompatible.C, is the most complex mobile malware the company has ever seen.NotCompatible's writers have rebuilt the entire back end to make it particularly resistant to malware researchers trying to take them down, with multiple servers in different geographies  a separate node authentication process, and encryption of all their traffic.Then there's the peer-to-peer functionality."Even if one or two command-and-control servers go down, bots can get commands to each other by funneling them through other bots," said Linden.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 6:12 am

Grocers, retailers gobble up Apple Pay in time for holidays

U.S. consumers have eschewed in-store mobile payments for years, but Apple Pay is making headway in that area just a month after the service launched Oct. 20. Apple Pay's early success aside, the question remains over how sticky the use of mobile payments will be among smartphone and tablet users. Be sure not to miss: 12 most powerful Internet of Things companies Will consumers try making a mobile payment a few times, and then give up? Or can Apple and other providers find ways to instill a mobile pay buying habit in reluctant Americans?To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 6:08 am

7 great MOOCs for techies -- all free, starting soon!

Always be learningBig data, open source software, security -- these are some of the IT skills most in demand today and for the near future. Fortunately, free classes, in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are available to help you keep pace with these and many other IT-oriented subjects. Offered by top universities as well as online education platforms (often in partnership), IT MOOCs can help you keep your skills sharp and resume updated.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 6:05 am

Contain yourself: The layman's guide to Docker

Welcome to the age of containerization, where an ecosystem led by startup Docker is leading IT organizations to ineffable peaks of efficiency, helping them scale their workloads ever-higher, and probably baking them a nice cake to boot (it's my birthday, I have cake on the brain, sue me). Microsoft, Google and Amazon Web Services are all tripping over themselves to make sure prospective customers know that their clouds are the place to be if you want to get the most from Docker. To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 21 November 2014 | 6:03 am

Google, Rockstar reach deal to settle lawsuit over Nortel patents

Google has agreed to settle a patent lawsuit brought by Rockstar, a patent company that had earlier acquired a trove of patents from Nortel Networks.In a filing in a Texas federal court, Rockstar said a binding term sheet had been executed that “settles, in principle, all matters in controversy between the parties” in the patent infringement dispute.The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. A term sheet is usually an outline of an agreement arrived at ahead of a more detailed legal document.As part of a rash of lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division in October last year, Rockstar alleged that seven patents it acquired from Nortel were infringed by Google. The patents, all titled “Associative Search Engine,” refer to an invention used to provide advertisements based on users’ search terms.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 20 November 2014 | 11:55 pm