News Fuse for October 15, 2013

Sony

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for October 15, 2013:

  1. Sony is now selling its Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra smartphones in the US along with its Smartwatch 2. The phones don't have deals with carriers so you pay full price, but they are unlocked. The 5-inch 1920 x 1080 water-resistant Xperia Z1 with the 20.7-megapixel camera is $669.99. The 6.44-inch Z Ultra is $649.99 for the non-LTE version and $679.99 for the LTE model. The Smartwatch 2 runs $199.99. Read more at cnet.com.

  2. It's official - Apple has confirmed next Tuesday as... well, they don't say, but it's new iPads and maybe new Macbooks. All they say is ""we still have a lot to cover"" with some colorful apple leaf art. Also this AM, Apple announced it's hired Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, to lead the Apple retail and online stores' ""strategic direction, expansion, and operation."" She will join Apple in spring 2014, filling a gap in the company's executive team. Ahrendts has been an executive in the fashion industry since the mid 80s. Read more at theverge.com.

  3. Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will allow you to receive direct messages from anyone who follows you - even if you don't follow them back. In the past, you'd have to follow each other to have a DM conversation. This new DM feature is opt-in. The Next Web says that it will still be possible to block people from DMing you even if you allow any follower to direct message you. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  4. In the latest leaked documents from Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports the US National Security Agency collects contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts around the world, including some that belong to US citizens. The lists are intercepted when they are broadcast by programs during login. The agency uses them to map connections between individuals. The collection is made possible through arrangements with foreign telecommunications companies and allied intelligence services. Read more at washingtonpost.com.

  5. Yahoo has confirmed to The Washington Post it will turn on HTTPS encryption by default for Yahoo Mail starting January 8, 2014. The security upgrade happens exactly one year after Yahoo first rolled out an SSL encryption feature for its mail service. Google and Microsoft, have been offering HTTPS as a default for years, so, you know, there's that. Read more at thenextweb.com.

  6. Yesterday, Lavabit announced that it will reopen for a short time so users can get their data. Service will be restored for a 72-hour period that began at 5PM Pacific time yesterday, October 14th. Lavabit was the encrypted e-mail service that was linked to Edward Snowden and the service shut down back in August. Read more at cnet.com.

  7. With all the surveillance talk, you may wonder if the government could come for your SnapChats. Yes, some of you may worry about that, stop laughing at them. Snapchat Trust & Safety officer Micah Schaffer wrote a blog post explaining the company can only turn over unopened messages and they've done it in response to a warrant 12 times. Before you relax too much though, keep in mind an app called Snaphack from Darren Jones has hit the scene making it easy for your friends to save and republish SnapChat messages without notifying the sender. The app is most likely in violation of SnapChat's terms of service. Read more at bbc.co.uk.

  8. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called out Google for vague banning of the use of "servers" on its Fiber service, and now the company seems to be reversing its stance. Google will allow 'personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.'" Read more at slashdot.com.

  9. Seth Weintraub at 9to5 Google has more anonymous info that Google is making a watch. His source says Google Now would be at the center of the product. Google is focusing on longer battery life and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. As Weintraub points out, Artem Russakovskii previously reported Google's watch, code-named Gem, would run KitKat and come October 31st along with the release of that flavor of Android. In any case, Google's likely to have something come from their acquisition of Smartwatch SDK developer WIMM last year. Read more at 9to5google.com.

  10. Rovio will soon be releasing Angry Birds Go - a kart racing game. If you've ever played Mario Kart, you have a pretty good idea of what Angry Birds Go is like. The game will be released on December 11th on iOS and Android. Angry Birds Go will also be free-to-play with upgradeable cars and stunt tracks. Read more at kotaku.com.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for October 15, 2013.