News Fuse for October 3, 2013

Bitcoin

Here are today's top 10 stories from Tech News Today for October 03, 2013:

  1. Bitcoin showed another characteristic of becoming a real currency yesterday. When Silk Road, a major Bitcoin-powered market, was seized by the US government, Bitcoin's dropped from around $140 a coin to $118. That's just what you'd expect when a major market for a currency disappeared suddenly. Today the coins have recovered somewhat to more than $120 per coin. Just as you'd expect a currency to do as the marketplace re-balances. Meanwhile, Ross Ulbricht, alleged to be the Dread Pirate Roberts in charge of Silk Road has been charged in Maryland with drug trafficking and hiring a hit man. Ulbricht was charged in New York yesterday on three counts of conspiracy Read more at techcrunch.com.

  2. Amazon is developing two smartphones, one inexpensive model and one with a 3D eye-tracking interface, sources tell Techcrunch. The ‘expensive’ phone reportedly has a 3D user interface, eye tracking and other goodies, and is going by the name project ‘Smith’. The screen itself is not 3D but the device features four cameras, one at each corner of the device that will be used to track eye and head motions in order to move the interface around to ‘give the impression’ of 3D. However, a release is apparently not planned this year. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  3. Google just bought itself gesture recognition tech company, Flutter. TechCrunch says the deal was around $40 million. Flutter makes apps for both Windows and OS X that lets a user control their computers using their webcams. The Flutter team announced their acquisition on the front page of their site saying that they will be continuing their research at Google. Read more at techcrunch.com.

  4. Court records were unsealed in the case of Lavabit, the encrypted email provider that folded in August rather than cooperate with Federal Investigators. The case shows Lavabit refused to decrypt one user's account, presumably Edward Snowden's account, in order to allow a pen register. The US followed up with a search warrant demanding lava bit's SSL private key, which would have opened all accounts to snooping. The US promised in court they would only look at the one account. Lavabit's Ladar Levison provided the key in a printout. The judge required it to be made available in electronic form. Lavabit shut down rather than comply with the order. Read more at wired.com.

  5. Intel has partnered with Arduino to produce the Galileo development board, a product that uses Intel's Quark X1000 system-on-chip. Intel isn't abandoning its X86 though - Quark's powered by a single-thread Pentium-based 400MHz CPU. As part of the new project, Intel will be handing out 50,000 of the boards to 1,000 universities over the next 18 months. Read more at engadget.com.

  6. Foss Patents published court documents filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California that suggests Samsung may have been able to access information related to a confidential Nokia-Apple patent deal. Apparently, Apple provided confidential documents related to a Nokia-Apple patent deal to Samsung's outside attorney. The documents specifically said that terms of the deal were not to be disclosed to any other party. Samsung's attorney then made the documents accessible to Samsung. The court wants to know more information and is looking to see Samsung emails and other communications to round out the story. Read more at cnet.com.

  7. A Tesla S caught fire on Washington Route 167 Tuesday morning. The driver claimed the car hit something, although Police could find no debris. The fire was limited to the front of the car and nobody was injured. Coincidentally the fire came as RW Baird analyst Ben Kallo downgraded Tesla stock to Neutral. Tesla stock prices then predictably fell. Read more at theverge.com.

  8. Temporary photo-sharing app Snapchat has introduced a new feature called ‘Stories’ that features images that don’t disappear in seconds. Your new daily Snapchat story lets your friends view a collection of snaps you have taken over the last 24 hours, after which they are gone for good. The Stories will play back in the order they occurred, and not in reverse chronological order. Now, if only Facebook updates had a shorter shelf life.... Read more at thenextweb.com.

  9. Anandtech has completed an investigation after it was revealed that Samsung Galaxy S4 detected the presence of benchmarking software and automatically driving CPU voltage/frequency to their highest rate. Anandtech found that with the exception of Apple and Motorola, every manufacturer they've worked with ships at least one device with the same CPU behavior, including the recently released Samsung Note 3. Anandtech's Anand Lal Shimpi and Brian Klug point out that the optimizations only gain 0-5% for CPUs and maybe 10% for GPUs and the manufacturer's time might be better spent demanding actual better performance from silicon vendors. Read more at anandtech.com.

  10. The World Wide Web Consortium approved a charter that will allow DRM into HML5. The EFF had filed a formal objection saying that DRM was not within the scope of the charter. However, W3C director Tim Berners-Lee concluded it was indeed within the scope of the charter and the Encrypted Media Extension (EME) proposal will be part of the group's work. The EFF says it's deeply disappointed and argues that "By approving this idea, the W3C has ceded control of the 'user agent' … to a third-party, the content distributor." Read more at eff.org.

For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for October 03, 2013.