FCC will vote next month on plan to share valuable 3.5GHz spectrum

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote April 17 on a spectrum-sharing plan for a band that could serve the military, mobile service providers and individuals.The CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) would open up frequencies from 3550-3700MHz to three classes of users, including owners of new mobile devices who could use the service like they do Wi-Fi. The FCC vote comes after several rounds of study and public comment on the proposal for more than two years.In that time, growing demand for wireless spectrum has boosted pressure on the government to share or auction off some of the many frequencies it exclusively controls. Bandwidth-hungry services like streaming video and audio, plus wireless links for a growing array of connected devices, are expected to eventually place strains on the spectrum currently allocated to wireless data.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 7:50 pm

Intel could strengthen its server product stack with Altera

Intel’s chips dominate servers in data centers, but the possible acquisition of Altera could help the company provide a wider variety of custom chips designed to speed up specific applications, analysts said on Friday.Intel is in talks to acquire Altera, which has a market capitalization of $10.4 billion [B], according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Intel and Altera declined to comment on negotiations or any deal.Altera makes FPGAs, which are specialized chips that can reprogrammed to run specific tasks at much higher speeds than CPUs. Intel makes Altera’s FPGAs in its factories and has also mentioned plans to use FPGAs with its server chips.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 5:30 pm

Kleiner Perkins cleared of sex discrimination against Ellen Pao

A jury has found mostly in favor of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a historic lawsuit accusing one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms of sex discrimination.The jury found against Ellen Pao on three out of four claims, including whether her gender was a factor in Kleiner Perkins’s decision not to promote her, according to reporters tweeting from the courtroom Friday.There was some confusion after the verdict was read, however, because the jury of six men and six women did not reach a sufficient majority on one question: whether Kleiner Perkins retaliated against Pao by terminating her employment after she complained that she was discriminated against.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 5:15 pm

Facebook reveals the logic behind its forced Messenger split

Facebook annoyed and puzzled many people last year when it forced them to download its Messenger app for chats. Its reasons for doing so are now clearer: Messenger is becoming a beast of an app, with its own links to outside businesses and software apart from Facebook’s main site.At the company’s F8 developer conference this week in San Francisco, executives pulled back the curtain on the new Messenger. It’s now a storefront and a platform for other mobile apps, which can be downloaded from within Messenger and integrated into people’s Messenger chats. There are more than 40 outside app partners already aiming to spice up users’ conversations with things like personalized GIFs, tools to turn your texts into songs, and even sports animations from ESPN. The apps can be accessed by hitting the “...” button on the Messenger compose screen.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 4:55 pm

Tim Cook plans to donate all his money to charity

On the path to becoming a billionaire, like many prominent tech CEOs before him, Apple's Tim Cook isn't the type of guy prone to blowing large sums of cash on lavish expenditures like yachts, mansions, and fast cars.On the contrary, Cook revealed in a recent in-depth interview with Fortune that he plans to quietly give away all of his money to charity, save of course some money set aside for his nephew's college education. He plans to give away all his wealth, after providing for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew. There should be plenty left over to fund philanthropic projects. Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, is currently about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested. Cook says that he has already begun donating money quietly, but that he plans to take time to develop a systematic approach to philanthropy rather than simply writing checks.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 4:00 pm

French self-driving car goes for a spin around Paris monument

For this self-driving car, the roadside hazards included traffic jams, undisciplined bystanders—and centuries-old cannons.That’s what you get when you demonstrate your latest technology at the National Army Museum in central Paris, as French companies Safran and Valeo did on Friday.Safran, a defense contractor, and Valeo, an automotive parts manufacturer, kitted out a Volkswagen CC with radar, lidar and all-round cameras for their demonstration, and let it loose on a winding track around the museum grounds. They wanted to show how close the European automotive industry is to its goal of having self-driving cars for sale in 2020.There were no wheel-spins or clouds of dust: This was a simulated urban environment with traffic lights, slow-moving or stopped vehicles ahead, and speed limits of 20 km/h or less. The car glided to a halt a few meters behind a stopped vehicle, moving on as soon as the way was clear; respected stop signals; and slowed gently at a variable sign indicating the speed limit had dropped to 10 km/h. When the curious crowd spilled into the road at the circuit’s finish line, the car pulled up cautiously a few meters short of the line.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 3:40 pm

USB Type-C peripherals are on the way, and storage devices are first up

With Apple’s latest MacBook and Google’s newest Chromebook just out and featuring the new USB Type-C connector, we’re on the lookout for peripherals that use the interface, and storage devices appear to be first out of the gate.Because the Type-C connector can be used to recharge laptops, it may ultimately do away with the need to carry bulky power adapters. Like older USB technology, Type-C will also connect monitors, external storage drives, printers, cameras and other peripherals. One beauty of the system is that cables have the same connector on both ends, and can be inserted into ports without worries about which side is up or down.Storage devices will eventually benefit from Type-C’s USB 3.1 protocol, which can transfer data at 10Gbps (bits per second), double that of USB 3.0. But the first peripherals we’re seeing support only USB 3.0 speeds.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 2:45 pm

5 freshly-funded cloud computing companies worth watching

Investors made a crowd around the cloud this week, investing $175 million in companies focused on everything from storage to the WAN to the supply chain.Sure, “the cloud” is a broad term and in reality, what new tech company doesn’t have some cloud angle? But 5 companies that announced funding this week, some familiar to us and some not, all have legit claims on being cloud computing businesses.The big winner of the bunch this week was FinancialForce.com, a San Francisco cloud ERP provider based on the Salesforce1 Platform that touted $110 million in fresh funding led by Technology Crossover Ventures. Existing investor Salesforce Ventures also chipped in. The $110 million, which will go toward product development, sales, marketing and more, adds to $50 million committed about a year ago by Advent International.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 2:27 pm

Scars on Mars: NASA finds landing blasts fade inconsistently

After a few years of watching over NASA’s Mars Curiosity landing site the space agency has found that blast marks made by the initial decent vehicle have not faded away as one might expect.Rather, NASA said, after fading for about two years, the pace of change slowed and some of the scars may have even darkened again.+More on Network World: 15 reasons why Mars is one hot, hot, hot planet; What is so infinitely cool about Mars?+To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 2:26 pm

Slack hacked, compromising users' profile data

The popular group chat tool Slack suffered a hack of its central database last month, the company admitted Friday, potentially compromising users’ profile information like log-on data, email addresses and phone numbers.The database also holds any additional information users may have added to their profiles like their Skype IDs.The passwords were encrypted using a hashing technique. There was no indication the hackers were able to decrypt the passwords, Slack Technologies said in a blog post. No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised, it said.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 1:40 pm

Congress moves quickly on cyberthreat information sharing

The U.S. Congress is moving forward quickly with legislation that would encourage private companies to share cyberthreat information with government agencies, despite concerns that two leading bills weaken consumer privacy protections.The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted Thursday to approve the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA), just two days after the bill was introduced.The House bill “is a cybersurveillance bill at least as much as it is a cybersecurity bill, and it is written so broadly that it could wind up making the Internet less safe,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute [OTI], said by email.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 1:00 pm

Google Cloud Launcher deploys VM-based apps in a snap

Google's latest enhancement to Cloud Platform is not a new feature but a repackaging of an existing innovation. But it's a downright useful offering all the same.Cloud Launcher is a gallery of applications that can be deployed to Google Cloud Platform with one click. Many of the offered apps are courtesy of a partnership with an existing app-packaging solution, Bitnami. The service's catalog includes many commonly deployed applications, such as WordPress or SugarCRM, plus development stacks (LAMP) and stack components (Nginx, Node.js).[ Get the latest practical info and news with Paul Venezia's Deep End blog. | Doing server virtualization right is not so simple. InfoWorld's expert contributors show you how to get it right in this 24-page "Server Virtualization Deep Dive" PDF guide. ] Google The catalog of VM-delivered applications available in Google Cloud Launcher are curated mainly by Bitnami and can be searched by name or type.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 12:48 pm

New mobile-malware detection technique uses gestures

Mobile malware is a growing problem, but researchers from University of Alabama at Birmingham have figured out a new way of detecting when shady mobile apps get up to no good, such as trying to call premium-rate numbers unbeknowst to a phone’s owner.The technique relies on using the phone’s motion, position and ambient sensors to learn the gestures that users typically make when they initiate phone calls, take pictures or use the phone’s NFC reader to scan credit cards.Some mobile malware programs already abuse these services and security researchers expect their number will only increase.The technology developed by the UAB researchers can monitor those three services and can check whether attempts to access them are accompanied by the natural gestures users are expected to make. If they’re not, they were likely initiated by malware.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 12:20 pm

IDG Contributor Network: Last-mile mobile optimization boosts app performance

News watchers might have noticed a bunch of hot air and chest pounding emanating from media nuts a few days ago.The reason: the end of civilization was nigh for traditionalists, because Facebook and the New York Times had made a deal for Times content to be wrapped into Facebook pages, rather than simply linked to.Big deal, you might say. Makes sense. Add venerable 1851-launched newspaper content to a 1.3 billion-user social network, and stir thoroughly.Well, it does make sense. However, intriguingly, there's more to it than a simple you-scratch-my-back media deal. What's most interesting about this move is the technical reason prompting it.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 10:31 am

Safari users in the UK can sue Google over alleged privacy violations

The U.K. Court of Appeal won’t block a privacy lawsuit that alleges Google tracked Safari users without authorization, so the three plaintiffs can continue their legal fight against the search company.“These claims raise serious issues which merit a trial. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature, as specified in the confidential schedules, about and associated with the claimants’ internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months,” reads the decision, released Friday. “The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused.”To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 10:20 am

Boeing exec details 6 steps that transformed its business

As the director of Information Technology for CDG, a Boeing subsidiary in the Digital Aviation business unit, I have responsibility to enable thousands of professionals with technology on a global basis. After eight years on the job, I’ve learned my share of hard lessons about managing people and technology. Paul Duchouquette To stay organized, I’ve settled on a purpose-driven model to inspire my group and keep everyone moving in the same direction. Our IT unit supports many custom-developed internal applications and even more consumer products that require multiple petabytes of big data storage, including commercial and military contracts with revenue in the billions per year. Managing such a vast, globally-dispersed team presents many challenges and opportunities, so I’ve settled on a useful framework.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 9:38 am

F8: Facebook launches open-source JavaScript library to speed mobile development

Most enterprises that have tried to build cross-platform mobile apps for iOS and Android without building entirely separate apps for each platform would describe the experience as lies, damned lies, and cross-platform.At its F8 developer conference this week, Facebook released React-Native, a cross-platform JavaScript library that accelerates app development for iOS and Android. Facebook runs much of its operations on open-source software, and is taking another stab at the inefficiencies of building separate native mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms with a new open-source project. It builds on the success of the React, the company's three-year-old open-source web user interface (UI) library.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 9:22 am

BlackBerry shocks with Q4 profit but CEO Chen can't stop sales slide

BlackBerry surprised Wall Street by getting its bottom line back into the black in the fourth quarter, but sales shrunk significantly again, putting in question CEO John Chen’s assertion that the company’s turnaround is on track.BlackBerry is trying to become less dependent on hardware, counting instead on software such as the BES12 enterprise mobile management platform, which can be used to manage not only the company’s devices but also iOS, Android and Windows Phone smartphones.During the quarter, which ended Feb. 28, software revenue grew 24 percent on a sequential basis and 20 percent year-on-year to US$67 million, the company said Friday morning before the U.S. financial markets opened.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 9:10 am

GNOME 3.16 release brings great new apps, notifications

I'm finding it harder and harder to not use GNOME.It seems with every release, even the "small" ones, GNOME keeps getting significantly more enjoyable to use. No matter what desktop environment I'm using at the time (and, boy howdy, do I jump around between darn near all of them), if a new release of GNOME appears, I simply can't help myself. I install it before the sun sets on that very day.There's always one or two new goodies in every release that draw me back in. For the 3.14 release (last September), for example, it was the new multi-touch gestures. I just had to try them out.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 8:44 am

30+ free tools for data visualization and analysis

The chart below originally accompanied our story 22 free tools for data visualization and analysis (April 20, 2011), but we're continuing to update it as we cover additional tools. Newest additions are toward the table bottom.Features: You can sort the chart by clicking on any column header once to sort in ascending order and a second time to sort by descending (browser JavaScript required).Skill levels are represented as numbers from easiest to most difficult to learn and use:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 8:07 am

9 security gadgets for mobile devices

Keep your mobile devices safeNowadays, when it seems like every week brings news of a new security breach, it seems appropriate to modernize an old saw by saying: You can never be too rich, too thin -- or too secure.Most of these security breaches relate to stolen or illegally accessed databases, of course. But let's not overlook a more local problem: The security of your mobile devices and data. Your smartphone, your tablet and even your wallet all contain oodles of critical information -- business and personal alike -- that could be hacked, scanned, stolen or otherwise compromised.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 8:04 am

DDoS attacks less frequent last year, more dangerous

The total number of distributed denial of service attacks declined steadily last year, from more than 450,000 attacks in the first quarter to fewer than 150,000 in the fourth quarter -- but the size and complexity of the average attack both increased, according to a new report from Black Lotus Communications.San Francisco-based Black Lotus, a DDOS mitigation firm, saw a total of 1.14 million different attacks last year, with an "alarming" surge in the last quarter of the year.The average bit volume of each attack -- the number of packets, multiplied by the size of each packet -- increased 3.4 times compared to the third quarter of the year.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 8:02 am

10 rules for working with recruiters and search firms

Working with IT recruitersImage by ShutterstockThere's a common misconception job seekers have about working with executive search firms, recruiters and employment agencies: They think these agencies are in business to help them land a job. It's important to remember that these firms work for employers, not for you -- and they are merely channels through which you may secure an employment opportunity, says Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of "Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring." First, it's helpful to understand the differences among recruiting professionals, Myers says. Placement agencies that charge a fee should be avoided completely, he says. Contingency-fee recruiters are paid a percentage of the candidate's salary -- but only if they actually place a new employee, so proceed with extreme caution if using a contingency recruiter -- they're out to make a placement, any placement, regardless of fit. Retained executive search firms are the classic headhunters, who are granted an exclusive right to conduct a search on behalf of their client company and are paid a consulting fee even if the search is unsuccessful."When working with any type of executive search firm or recruiter, you must maintain control. Even though the search firm is not working for you, I tell my clients to supervise the work of recruiters as though they were managing a group of employees," says Myers. This means following these important guideline.Be selectiveImage by ShutterStockTo read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 7:59 am

The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, March 27

Twitter answers Meerkat with its own video streaming appTwo weeks after confirming it had acquired Periscope, Twitter has launched the live video streaming app to compete with buzzed-about Meerkat. Both apps post live-streamed video to your Twitter feed, but Twitter has now blocked the competitor from accessing follower/followed lists.UN to appoint privacy watchdogThe United Nations’ Human Rights Council has voted to appoint a watchdog—“special rapporteur” in UN-speak—to monitor privacy in the digital world. The post comes with mostly advisory powers, but the move, backed by Germany and Brazil, is seen as important amid concerns about surveillance by the U.S. and other countries.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 7:00 am

Startup takes the effort out of endpoint detection and response

Startup Red Canary is offering an endpoint detection and response service based in the cloud that is backed up by a team of analysts who weed out false alarms.The service, called Red Canary, takes data gathered from customer endpoints, analyzes it and delivers alerts to customers so they can take steps to block attacks.While the service uses its own behavioral analysis, code analysis, and base-lining tools, it relies on Bit9+CarbonBlack for endpoint sensors. It gathers threat intelligence on its own and supplements it with the resources of Threat Recon, Farsight Security and Bit9+CarbonBlack’s Threat Intelligence Cloud.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Posted by on 27 March 2015 | 6:59 am