News Fuse for December 10, 2013

Apple

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for December 10, 2013:

  1. The Linux Foundation announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance, dedicated to building an open universal development framework for the Internet of things. AllSeen will be built on Qualcomm’s AllJoyn technology which allows devices to talk together regardless of whether they use WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee or some other protocol. Qualcomm, LG, Panasonic, Haier, Silicon Image and TP-LINK are heading the initiative, with 17 other companies as community members. Read more at theverge.com.

  2. Apple wants you to enjoy free stuff! Previously offered only in Canada and Europe, the 12 Days of Gifts app is now available to US customers, where Apple hands out one free digital item for 12 days between December 26 and January 6. Apple won't say ahead of time what it's offering, but the free stuff covers music, apps, and movies. The app is free and for each daily offer, customers have 24 hours to download it before it's replaced with the next day's gift. Read more at cnet.com.

  3. FireEye, a U.S. security firm, traced hacks of European foreign ministries to China. The attacks started in 2010 and are continuing. FireEye did not detail which ministries were targeted but malware was sent to people working on G20 tasks. The hackers sent emails with attachments containing malware. FireEye says that nine computers were compromised. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  4. Chromecast support just arrived on ten new apps, the first of several waves Google has promised for the $35 video streaming stick. Local file playback comes in various forms from Plex, RealPlayer Cloud, and aVia. The other apps are Podcast app BeyondPod, Washington Post’s PostTV, music service Songza, RedbullTV, Discovery’s Revision3, music video app VEVO and international TV service Viki. Read more at gigaom.com.

  5. The Pirate moved to Caribbean island Sint Maarten this summer, but Torrent Freak reports its domain has already been seized by authorities. However, thepiratebay.ac is already up and running in Ascension Island, which is only temporary as the company shifts to Peruvian-registered thepiratebay.pe, which is where it plans to operate from for the longer term. The group already has numerous other domain names in reserve, so we might be playing "hey, where's that domain from" for some time. Read more at theverge.com.

  6. CyanogenMod released a new screen recording app called Screencast in the Google Play beta channel. If you want to use the app, you'll have to jump through a few hoops. First, your device has to be running CyanogenMod 11 nightly build, then you have to join the CyanogenMod Google+ community so you can join the beta program. CyanogenMod is also getting built-in tools to encrypt SMS and messaging based on the TextSecure protocol. Encrypted SMS comes in CM 10.2. Read more at zdnet.com.

  7. Winsupersite’s Paul Thurott reports Microsoft plans to bring the Start menu back as an option in the next major Windows release rumored to be codenamed “Threshold”. Microsoft brought the Start BUTTON back in Windows 8.1. MaryJo Foley on ZDNet reports Threshold will come in three flavors; a modern consumer version focused on the tiled apps screen and replacing Windows RT and possibly Windows Phone, as well as a traditional desktop version and an traditional enterprise version. Nothing is official but Foley also says her sources expect a release in Spring 2015. Read more at theverge.com.

  8. Developers of FreeBSD OS version 10.0 will no longer allow users to trust processors manufactured by Intel and Via Technologies as the only source of random numbers needed to generate cryptographic keys that are difficult to crack by government spies and other adversaries. Why? Secret documents leaked by former (NSA) subcontractor Edward Snowden said the US spy agency was able to decode encrypted traffic, and publications report that agencies like the NSA have defeated encryption technologies by working with chipmakers to insert backdoors, or cryptographic weaknesses, in their products. Read more at arstechnica.com.

  9. Qualcomm announced Monday it will make a 64-bit smartphone chip. The Snapdragon 410 will also include LTE capability and be aimed at low-cost phones in markets like China starting in the second half of 2014. 64-bit and LTE will become standard across Qualcomm’s products. Apple released its first smartphone with a 64-bit processor earlier this year. Intel has 64-bit mobile chips available as well. Read more at reuters.com.

  10. Facebook hired NYU deep learning expert Yann LeCun to head up its artificial intelligence lab. LeCun developed new machine learning methods with AT&T and published a slew of technical papers on things like neural networks, pattern recognition, and handwriting recognition. LeCun will remain at NYU as a professor part-time while serving as the director of Facebook's AI lab. Read more at gigaom.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for December 10, 2013.