tech

Apple car rumors fuel Geneva debate about car of future

Apple car rumors fuel Geneva debate about car of future

By Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz GENEVA (Reuters) - The main talking point at this week's Geneva car show is likely to be a vehicle that may never be built: the Apple car. The world's automakers will gather in the Swiss city to tout their latest minivans, city cars and sport utility vehicles against an uncertain market backdrop, with growing signs of recovery in Europe offset by slowing demand in emerging markets. Reports that technology giant Apple may be building a car have got established automakers, who have spent the past 127 years refining the combustion engine, wondering whether they are still in pole position to build the car of the future. The growing use of computing power in vehicles, and the ability of cars to connect to smartphones and other devices, is providing technology companies and automakers with new business opportunities -- and increasingly making them rivals.

Google submits plans to expand Silicon Valley headquarters

Google submits plans to expand Silicon Valley headquarters

Google Inc submitted plans on Friday for a vastly expanded headquarters at the Silicon Valley city where the tech giant is based, presenting a bucolic vision of movable structures to be built under curving and translucent canopies. The submission of the plan to the City Council in Mountain View, California, which the company chose for its headquarters 15 years ago, marks the first step in what city officials describe as a long review process. The new headquarters would give the Internet company the room for an additional 10,000 employees, compared to the 20,000 Google staffers that currently work in the city, a Google spokeswoman said. Google's blueprint for new headquarters in the city's North Bayshore district has gathered widespread attention because the design is seen as architecturally innovative.

Oracle sues Oregon officials in healthcare website dispute

Oracle sues Oregon officials in healthcare website dispute

By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Oracle America Inc, the software giant in charge of developing Oregon's failed health exchange website, has filed suit against five former staff and campaign advisers to the state's former governor, saying they worked behind the scenes to kill the site for political reasons, court documents showed. The company also gave notice to state administrators on Thursday, the same day it filed suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, that it might file similar claims against former Governor John Kitzhaber and his former chief of staff, Mike Bonetto. The lawsuit says Kitzhaber's staffers and advisers, who did not work for Cover Oregon, "improperly influenced" the decision to shutter the site and then blamed Oracle to defuse the political consequences.     Named in the lawsuit are Kitzhaber's former campaign manager Patricia McCaig, consultants Kevin Looper and Mark Wiener, former business policy director Scott Nelson and former spokesman Tim Raphael.

Europe's big telecoms roar back to health, worrying rivals

Europe's big telecoms roar back to health, worrying rivals

By Leila Abboud, Harro Ten Wolde and Julia Fioretti PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's big telecom firms are back to rude financial health after years of poor results and regulatory pressure, drawing crowds of new investors and protests from rivals who worry the formerly state-owned companies may rebuild their monopolies. Germany's Deutsche Telekom and Spain's Telefonica have predicted that revenues will grow this year, while France's Orange and Norway's Telenor have promised higher future dividends, a major motivation for investors in the sector. The renaissance is a marked shift from the past five years in which the sector's sales fell steadily because of regulation ending various types of mobile fees and tough competition from cable operators such as Liberty Global and low-cost players like France's Iliad .

Japan's NTT Comm in talks to buy German e-shelter: source

Japan's NTT Comm in talks to buy German e-shelter: source

By Yoshiyasu Shida TOKYO (Reuters) - NTT Communications Corp is in talks to acquire German data center provider e-shelter for about 100 billion yen ($836 million), according to a source familiar with the matter. An acquisition of e-shelter by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Communications is the latest in the NTT Corp's overseas expansion due to a dwindling home market. NTT bought South African IT firm Dimension Data for 382 billion yen ($3.2 billion) in 2010, followed by takeover deals with a combined worth of 85.5 billion yen ($715.42 million) of two U.S. ...

White House releases draft bill to protect consumer data privacy

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House released draft legislation on Friday that would give consumers more control over how the trail of data they leave behind them on the internet is used, stored and sold. The 24-page "discussion draft" on data privacy immediately sparked sharp reaction from the technology industry, which said the proposal would hurt innovation, and also from privacy advocacy groups that said it did not go far enough. President Barack Obama has made cyber security a major focus in the wake of high-profile hacks at companies such as Sony Pictures Anthem Inc and Target Corp. Obama has also proposed legislation to help the government and private sector more readily share cyber attack data, a new national standard requiring companies to tell consumers about data breaches within 30 days, and new protections for student data. The data privacy bill would codify a voluntary "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights" the White House created in 2012.

Microsoft accidentally announces the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL

Microsoft accidentally announces the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL

Microsoft is holding a press event at Mobile World Congress tomorrow morning to announce new Lumia devices, but that’s not stopping the software maker from revealing things a little early. Microsoft’s news center accidentally published a blank article announcing the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, two new Windows Phone devices. Rumors have suggested Microsoft is launching two new low-end devices, and the numbering scheme appears to indicate that’s the plan. The Lumia 640 XL is presumably a bigger version of the Lumia 640, and it appears Microsoft is dropping part of its confusing numbering scheme in favor or the simplified XL moniker. Leaked specifications suggest that the Lumia 640 will be a 5-inch device with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 processor.

Small SUVs, pricey sports cars dominate at Geneva auto show

Small SUVs, pricey sports cars dominate at Geneva auto show

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Small SUVs for families and powerful sports cars for the rich are the big things this year at the Geneva International Motor Show this year. Environmentally correct electrics and hybrids, not so much — thanks to cheaper gas and limits on battery life.

Better plane tracking trialed after Malaysia plane mystery

Better plane tracking trialed after Malaysia plane mystery

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia will lead a trial to enhance the tracking of aircraft over remote oceans, allowing planes to be more easily found should they vanish like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australia's transport minister said Sunday.

Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia to trial new jet tracking system

Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia to trial new jet tracking system

Australia on Sunday said it was trialling a "world first" system with Malaysia and Indonesia that increases the tracking of aircraft over remote oceans, allowing authorities to quickly react to abnormal situations such as the disappearance of MH370. The technology "can increase realtime monitoring should an abnormal situation arise," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said. "In a world first, all three countries will trial a new method of tracking aircraft through the skies over remote oceanic areas," Truss told reporters. "Now this initiative adapts existing technology used by more than 90 percent of long-haul passenger aircraft and would see air traffic control able to respond more rapidly should an aircraft experience difficulty or deviation from its flight plan." The announcement came ahead almost a year after Malaysian Airlines MH370 went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board last March.

The Verge Playlist: Victory for the internet

The Verge Playlist: Victory for the internet

We were perplexed by the color of a (kind of tacky) dress, we got emotionally invested in a high-speed llama chase, a new season of House of Cards is on Netflix, and, most importantly, the FCC has officially voted in favor of Title II classification for the internet. Let’s raise our glasses to Tom Wheeler with this playlist of tracks by supporters of net neutrality and songs that capture the tenacious spirit of the open internet. Revel along with Deniece Williams’ "Let’s Hear It For the Boy," which I can only imagine was intended to laud Chairman Wheeler.

Star Trek Online game developers are building a digital memorial to Leonard Nimoy

Star Trek Online game developers are building a digital memorial to Leonard Nimoy

Everyone's finding a way to honor Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday at the age of 83. Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios has announced that it is building a permanent memorial to Nimoy — and Spock — in the world of the 2010 MMO. Nimoy's connection to Star Trek Online goes deeper than the sci-fi franchise. The actor did voice work for the game, narrating brief introductions to the MMO's locales.

This could be the best-looking Android Wear smartwatch yet

This could be the best-looking Android Wear smartwatch yet

As spotted by Droid Life, two official promo videos for the "Huawei Watch" have accidentally been set live on YouTube ahead of the device's likely announcement tomorrow at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Before the videos were released, the watch was pictured in an advertisement at Barcelona's El Prat airport.

Seattle's police department has a YouTube channel for its body camera footage

Seattle's police department has a YouTube channel for its body camera footage

Since then, cities around the country, from New York to LA, have been testing body cameras in their police forces. Seattle's police department recently launched a YouTube channel to store its force's body camera footage for the public to view. Last year, the police department recruited hacker Timothy Clemans to create software that would redact images and elminate sound from the body camera footage, the Seattle Times reports. According to SPDBlotter, Clemans' software allowed the department to redact more than four hours of footage in just half a day, whereas the old method would've required days of work. The Seattle Times says the police department hopes to make the tools available to other cities for free in the near future.

HTC One M9 hands-on video leaks onto the internet

HTC One M9 hands-on video leaks onto the internet

HTC's new flagship, the One M9, will be anything but a surprise when it is announced tomorrow at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The video confirms everything we already knew: the M9 looks much like its predecessor, the HTC One M8, though the dual-camera setup has been scrapped and the front-facing camera has been beefed up with the company's "Ultrapixel" technology to take better selfies in low light. It seems the video was recorded during an embargoed press event, which tech companies often use to show off new devices to the media ahead of their official unveiling. Unfortunately for HTC, it appears this video accidentally found its way onto the internet.

BGR at MWC 2015: On the hunt for the next big thing

The 2015 edition of the Mobile World Congress show that is about to kick off in Barcelona, Spain will likely be one of the best in recent years when it comes to new hardware announcements, as at least two hot mobile devices will be unveiled during the show — the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 each have their own special events on Sunday. But that’s not all that’s happening at MWC, as there will be plenty of interesting products on display coming from much smaller players. FROM EARLIER: Galaxy S6 already dominates MWC… and the show hasn’t even started If you fit the bill — a startup that thinks it has figured out the next big idea in mobile, whether

7 things Net neutrality won't do

7 things Net neutrality won't do

One day after the FCC adopted new Net neutrality rules, consumers are left scratching their heads about what it means for their Web-surfing experience. Has anything really changed?>

You’re really going to want to tune in to BGR tomorrow…

The annual Mobile World Congress trade show has been a bit stale in recent years, since most big smartphone vendors have been hosting their own dedicated press conferences to make key announcements. This year, however, that is most certainly not the case. Three of the biggest smartphones of the year — the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge and HTC One M9 — will all be unveiled tomorrow, and BGR will be on hand reporting live as news breaks from Barcelona, Spain. DON’T MISS: Why Samsung fell There will be plenty of news pouring out of MWC 2015 on Sunday, but two events will undoubtedly be the highlights of the day. First, HTC is unveiling its new flagship HTC one M9

The Harry Potter larp organizers want to buy their own castle

The Harry Potter larp organizers want to buy their own castle

Dropped into the universe of Harry Potter, they made friends and fought the forces of evil while doing homework for Defense Against the Dark Arts and vying for the House Cup. "And of course, I aced my Magical Artifacts class." College of Wizardry, as the experience was called, was a carefully produced Nordic larp — a form of role-playing that's heavy on atmosphere and light on hit points and spell damage calculations. What made CoW stand out was that it got so much attention," says organizer Claus Raasted, a prolific contributor to the world of Nordic larp. At $175,000, College of Wizardry will play three times in November.

The Weekender: German absurdist art, David Cronenberg, and Pebble's smartwarch

The Weekender: German absurdist art, David Cronenberg, and Pebble's smartwarch

Hello fellow weekend-goers, and welcome back to The Weekender. This week, Bill Gates predicts the eradication of certain diseases by 2030, David Cronenberg talks Fifty Shades of Grey, and we examine what's behind Pebble's new smartwatch design. We'll also be setting you up for a stellar weekend back on this terrestrial plane. So sit back and take a journey with us..mobile-layout .link { width: 15px; float: right; padding: 10px; }Do thisBeer Week 2015, New York City

internet

Bouygues denies its chief executive has died

Bouygues denies its chief executive has died

French construction-to-media group Bouygues denied reports on Saturday that its CEO, Martin Bouygues, had died. "The Bouygues Group formally denies the death of its CEO Martin Bouygues and regrets that such a rumor could have spread," a Bouygues spokesman told Reuters by phone. Agence France-Presse had reported the 62-year-old businessman's death, citing a mayor of the northwestern Orne region, where Bouygues has a home. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reacted to the erroneous news on Twitter: "Glad to have had Martin Bouygues on the phone and to have shared his astonishment".

Japan's NTT Comm in talks to buy German e-shelter: source

Japan's NTT Comm in talks to buy German e-shelter: source

By Yoshiyasu Shida TOKYO (Reuters) - NTT Communications Corp is in talks to acquire German data center provider e-shelter for about 100 billion yen ($836 million), according to a source familiar with the matter. An acquisition of e-shelter by Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Communications is the latest in the NTT Corp's overseas expansion due to a dwindling home market. NTT bought South African IT firm Dimension Data for 382 billion yen ($3.2 billion) in 2010, followed by takeover deals with a combined worth of 85.5 billion yen ($715.42 million) of two U.S. ...

Oracle sues Oregon officials in healthcare website dispute

Oracle sues Oregon officials in healthcare website dispute

By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Oracle America Inc, the software giant in charge of developing Oregon's failed health exchange website, has filed suit against five former staff and campaign advisers to the state's former governor, saying they worked behind the scenes to kill the site for political reasons, court documents showed. The company also gave notice to state administrators on Thursday, the same day it filed suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court, that it might file similar claims against former Governor John Kitzhaber and his former chief of staff, Mike Bonetto. The lawsuit says Kitzhaber's staffers and advisers, who did not work for Cover Oregon, "improperly influenced" the decision to shutter the site and then blamed Oracle to defuse the political consequences.     Named in the lawsuit are Kitzhaber's former campaign manager Patricia McCaig, consultants Kevin Looper and Mark Wiener, former business policy director Scott Nelson and former spokesman Tim Raphael.

Uber security breach may have affected up to 50,000 drivers: LA Times

(Reuters) - About 50,000 of Uber's driver names and license numbers may be in the hands of an unauthorized third party due to a data breach that occurred last year, Los Angeles Times reported, citing the ride service provider's managing counsel of data privacy. The company could not say how the security vulnerability was first discovered because the matter is currently under investigation, according to the report. (http://lat.ms/1DiWfWP) Uber was not immediately available to comment. (Reporting By Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Ex-school employee pleads to obstruction in Steubenville rape case

By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A former school employee in Ohio pleaded guilty to obstruction in a rape case involving a 16-year-old girl that drew national attention after supposed images of the incident circulated on the Internet, the state's Attorney General office said Friday. William Rhinaman, former information technology director for Steubenville City Schools, pleaded guilty to obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor. Rhinaman was indicted in 2013 by a special grand jury that looked into whether officials had tried to thwart the investigation into the rape by two Steubenville High School football players. Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced Rhinaman to 90 days of jail, 80 of which are suspended upon completion a year of probation and 40 hours of community service.

American blogger killed in Bangladesh machete attack

Machete-wielding assailants hacked to death an American critic of religious extremism in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks on writers who support freethinking values in the Muslim-majority nation. Avijit Roy, a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin, and his wife and fellow blogger, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked on Thursday while returning from a book fair. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called it "a shocking act of violence" that was "horrific in its brutality and cowardice." Psaki told a regular news briefing she had no information as the motive for the attack, but said the United States was ready to assist the investigation. They said they were investigating the involvement of Ansarullah Bangla Team, an Islamist extremist group based in Bangladesh that claimed responsibility on Friday for the murder.

Cook says Apple Watch will replace car keys - Telegraph

Cook says Apple Watch will replace car keys - Telegraph

(Reuters) - Apple Watch will replace your car keys and its battery will last the whole day, Apple Inc's Chief Executive Tim Cook told the Telegraph in an interview. The watch is designed to replace car keys and the clumsy, large fobs that are now used in many vehicles, Cook told the newspaper. Its battery will last the whole day, and will not take as long to charge as an iPhone, the report quoted Cook as saying. Apple Watch will also work as a credit card through Apple Pay, Cook told the paper, but did not mention how user verification will work with the watch.

Google scraps plan to block porn on Blogger

Google scraps plan to block porn on Blogger

(Reuters) - Google Inc has abandoned its plan to ban adult content on its blogging site Blogger after receiving negative feedback from users. Google will instead "step up enforcement" of its existing policy prohibiting commercial porn, Jessica Pelegio, the company's social product support manager, wrote on Google Product Forums on Friday. Bloggers can continue to tag any blog with sexually explicit content as "adult" that is placed behind a warning page. ...

China draft counterterror law strikes fear in foreign tech firms

China draft counterterror law strikes fear in foreign tech firms

By Michael Martina and Krista Hughes BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China is weighing a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys and install security "backdoors", a potential escalation of what some firms view as the increasingly onerous terms of doing business in the world's second largest economy. A parliamentary body read a second draft of the country's first anti-terrorism law this week and is expected to adopt the legislation in the coming weeks or months. The initial draft, published by the National People's Congress late last year, requires companies to also keep servers and user data within China, supply law enforcement authorities with communications records and censor terrorism-related internet content. Its scope reaches far beyond a recently adopted set of financial industry regulations that pushed Chinese banks to purchase from domestic technology vendors.

China censorship sweep deletes more than 60,000 Internet accounts

China censorship sweep deletes more than 60,000 Internet accounts

Some of China's largest Internet companies deleted more than 60,000 online accounts because their names did not conform to regulations due to take effect on Sunday, the top Internet regulator said. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Baidu Inc, Sina Corp affiliate Weibo Corp and other companies deleted the accounts in a cull aimed at "rectifying" online names, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said. The purge is notable as a step toward China's government locking down control over people's internet account names, an effort which censors have struggled with in the past, despite numerous efforts to introduce controls.

Today's dialectic: Is that dress white or is it blue?

(Reuters) - Cyberspace was being consumed by an acute philosophical debate on Friday over a picture of a dress many claim is obviously white and gold but others argue just as trenchantly is black and blue. The hashtag #TheDress led trends on Twitter worldwide, boosted by a stream of tweets from celebrities voicing support for either of the opposing camps. Blue & black, or white & gold," U.S. comedian Ellen DeGeneres tweeted. Musician Taylor Swift was gripped by ontological uncertainty.

School math answers only a scan away with Croatian app

School math answers only a scan away with Croatian app

By Zoran Radosavljevic ZAGREB (Reuters) - Damir Sabol, Croatian computer expert and entrepreneur, was helping his son with his maths homework when he had an idea. "I found it a bit tedious, all those additions and multiplications, so I reckoned, 'We already have intelligent software, why not make it deal with maths?'" Sabol said.

Factbox: What is net neutrality? U.S. debates once again

(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday set new rules to regulate Internet providers more heavily. Following are some details about the concept of net neutrality and the FCC's work to regulate Internet traffic: WHAT IS NET NEUTRALITY? Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers should treat all traffic on their networks equally. The FCC, which regulates U.S. cable and other companies that provide broadband services, has tackled net neutrality rules several times.

U.S. Internet providers hit with tougher rules, plan challenges

U.S. Internet providers hit with tougher rules, plan challenges

By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday approved the strictest-ever rules on Internet providers, who in turn pledged to battle the new restrictions in the courts and Congress, saying they would discourage investment and stifle innovation. Experts expect the industry to seek a stay of the rules, first at the FCC and then in courts, though the chances for success of such an appeal is unclear. It culminated in the FCC receiving a record 4 million comments and a call from President Barack Obama to adopt the strongest rules possible. In the past, broadband was classified as a more lightly regulated "information service," which factored into a federal court's rejection of the FCC's previous set of rules in January 2014.

Beset by regulation, Google merges European divisions: source

Beset by regulation, Google merges European divisions: source

Google Inc has combined its two European regional divisions as it seeks to meet the challenges of tougher regulation across the continent, a source close to the company said on Thursday. The Internet giant is merging its northern and western European division with the unit covering southern and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, the source said. The shake-up follows a year of setbacks for the company on political and regulatory fronts on issues ranging from antitrust to privacy to how much tax it pays in different European nations, as well as fraught relations with some European industries including media and telecom groups. Google's regional headquarters will remain in Dublin, where it employs thousands of staff, and the reorganization will not result in job losses, the source said.

Lenovo website breached, hacker group Lizard Squad claims responsibility

Lenovo website breached, hacker group Lizard Squad claims responsibility

Chinese computer and smartphone firm Lenovo Group Ltd said its website was hacked on Wednesday, its second security blemish days after the U.S. government advised consumers to remove software called "Superfish" pre-installed on its laptops. Hacking group Lizard Squad claimed credit for the attacks on microblogging service Twitter. Lenovo said attackers breached the domain name system associated with Lenovo and redirected visitors to lenovo.com to another address, while also intercepting internal company emails. Lizard Squad posted an email exchange between Lenovo employees discussing Superfish.

Nickelodeon unveils paid streaming service for kids

(Reuters) - Viacom Inc's Nickelodeon unveiled on Wednesday a paid streaming service for children called Noggin that will launch on March 5 for $5.99 a month. The mobile subscription service will be available for Apple Inc's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Noggin serves as a complement to the Nick Jr. app, which features live streaming video as well as on-demand episodes that are available with a paid-TV subscription. Nickelodeon said it is in discussions with pay-TV distributors about offering Noggin as a premium complement to its authenticated subscribers.

Chinese rivals snap at Alibaba's heels in cross-border e-commerce race

Chinese rivals snap at Alibaba's heels in cross-border e-commerce race

By Brenda Goh SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese government push to promote e-commerce has created a host of online retail rivals for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com Inc catering to shoppers' fears about the quality and safety of local everyday goods. Encouraged by tax-relief programmes and other policies that gained traction last year, logistics firms including SF Express and state-owned Sinotrans are seeking to grab a piece of the cross-border e-commerce market which the government estimates to be worth $1 trillion by 2016. "Local e-commerce businesses aren't able to meet the needs of China's consumers who are increasingly buying from abroad," said Masa Ren, vice president of international e-commerce services at SF Express, one of China's biggest logistics firms.

Hackers controlling millions of PCs disrupted in Europol sweep

By Anthony Deutsch and Jim Finkle AMSTERDAM/BOSTON (Reuters) - A cybercrime operation that stole banking information by hacking more than 3 million computers in Indonesia, India and other countries has been disrupted by European police with assistance from three technology companies, officials said on Wednesday. Europol's European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the operation out of its headquarters in The Hague, targeting the so-called Ramnit botnet, a network of computers infected with malware. Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp in dismantling the server infrastructure used by the criminals, Europol said. "The criminals have lost control of the infrastructure they were using," Paul Gillen, head of operations at Europol's cybercrime center, told Reuters.

BlackBerry working with Google to secure Android devices

BlackBerry working with Google to secure Android devices

BlackBerry Ltd said on Wednesday that it is working with Google Inc to enable its software to manage and secure some of Google's Android devices, a move that builds on BlackBerry's recent partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. In November, BlackBerry announced partnerships with Samsung and other high-profile technology industry players, broadening the reach of its revamped mobile-device management and security platform. BlackBerry said it is offering a "highly secure mobility solution" for Samsung's Android devices.

British blogger raises awkward questions on Russia's role in Ukraine

By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - It was not an unusual evening for war blogger Eliot Higgins. As he was rocking his infant son to sleep in his bedroom in the English city of Leicester, Higgins, who has written in-depth reports on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, was engaging in an online war of words with a pro-Kremlin blogger over Twitter. This time he and his Bellingcat project, funded by fans and supporters, were being accused of taking money from Kiev to produce some of his hardest-hitting work, which has riled pro-Kremlin separatists and those in Moscow who support them. Multi-tasking while on baby duty, Higgins called his detractor a "deluded idiot" and signed off on that night in late January.

New EU privacy rules to allow challenges to Irish regulator

By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ireland will not retain sole control over privacy disputes involving companies such as Facebook and Apple under new rules agreed on Wednesday allowing any of its European peers to challenge Irish rulings. Under a "one-stop-shop" mechanism initially proposed in reforms of EU data protection laws, businesses operating across the 28-nation bloc would only have had to deal with the data protection authority in the country where they are headquartered or have their main European base - even if the alleged mishandling of data affects citizens in another country. On Wednesday, a majority of member states agreed to scrap an option requiring at least a third of concerned authorities to object, diplomats said, potentially giving a single "concerned" authority the right to complain. Latvia, which holds the rotating European presidency, had suggested rules to ensure a minimum number of regulators object to a decision before it is referred to the European Data Protection Board with the power to overturn the original decision.

Google investigated in Italy over tax issues: prosecutors

Google investigated in Italy over tax issues: prosecutors

Italian authorities are investigating whether Google violated any tax laws in the country, Milan's prosecutor said on Wednesday, adding that talks were under way with the U.S. company over a possible settlement. Officials had started discussions with Google representatives relating to its earnings in Italy in the years from 2008 to 2013, Milan prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said in a statement. Google was considering whether to provide information over revenues it generates in Italy, it added. It did not say when the investigation or the discussion with Google would conclude.

Anthem says at least 8.8 million non-customers could be victims in data hack

Anthem says at least 8.8 million non-customers could be victims in data hack

Health insurer Anthem Inc, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8 million people who were not its customers could be victims in the attack. Anthem, the country's second-largest health insurer, is part of a national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different company. It is those Blue Cross Blue Shield customers who were potentially affected because their records may be included in the database that was hacked, the company said. Anthem updated the total number of records accessed in the database to 78.8 million customers from its initial estimate of 80 million, which includes 14 million incomplete records that it found.

ESPN suspends anchor Olbermann over Penn State tweets

(Reuters) - ESPN on Tuesday suspended anchor Keith Olbermann for the rest of the week because of a series of disparaging tweets about Pennsylvania State University and its students on Monday night. "We are aware of the exchange Keith Olbermann had on Twitter last night regarding Penn State," the Disney-owned cable sports network said in a statement. "It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN. "We have discussed it with Keith, who recognizes he was wrong." Penn State students raised $13 million for pediatric cancer victims over the weekend.

Mobile technology helps Sri Lanka cope with climate change

By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Floods and landslides linked to climate change have battered parts of Sri Lanka in the past two years, disrupting food output, but scientists believe a new program to install low-cost weather stations based on open-source technology could help farmers adapt to increasingly wild weather. New Mobile Weather Stations, made mainly from local parts, are starting to give farmers quick access to rainfall data, so they can better plan for floods or other extreme weather, Yann Chemin, a scientist leading the new initiative, said on Tuesday. The easy-to-make sensors cost about $250 to produce compared with about $10,000 for standard weather stations, he said. When more of the systems have been produced, Chemin hopes to have text messages sent from the sensors directly to farmers and government officials when rainfall levels are expected to rise in a specific area.

Google's Schmidt to meet EU antitrust chief next week: sources

Google's Schmidt to meet EU antitrust chief next week: sources

By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt will meet Europe's antitrust chief next week, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday, a move likely to help regulators decide the next step in a four year-old investigation into the Internet company. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has met more than a dozen Google complainants, including executives from Microsoft and German publisher Axel Springer, in the last few weeks to get feedback. Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment. Google spokesman Al Verney did not immediately respond to an email for comment.

Aerodrums turn thin air into a virtual drum kit

By Matthew Stock and Anastasia Gorelova LONDON (Reuters) - Everyone has seen someone play an air guitar that makes no sound. As odd as it looks, the inventors of Aerodrums say it is the first fully drumless drum set, and they have ambitious plans for the product. Developed by Yann Morvan and Richard Lee, research fellows at the Trinity College Dublin Vision and Visualization lab, the kit is intended as an alternative for drummers who lack space for a drum set or who don't want to annoy their neighbors. Using motion-tracking technology similar to that used for motion-capture effects in movies, Aerodrums replicates the sound and experience of a real drum kit while being compact enough to fit in a backpack.

Facebook counts 2 million active advertisers, mostly small businesses

Facebook counts 2 million active advertisers, mostly small businesses

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that its active advertisers rose to 2 million, a 33 percent increase from the 1.5 million it had in July 2014. The vast majority of the advertisers, defined as those that have placed an ad on the social media platform in the last 30 days, represent small- and medium-sized business owners. "Small business owners are really hard to reach and they are not tech savvy usually," Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview. Facebook also launched a mobile app for advertisers to use to manage their campaigns.

Deutsche Bank signs multibillion-dollar IT deal with HP

Deutsche Bank signs multibillion-dollar IT deal with HP

Deutsche Bank will outsource large parts of its wholesale banking IT infrastructure to U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) in a multibillion-dollar deal that leaves the group's retail operations untouched. Under the 10-year agreement, HP will provide computing capacity and data storage to host Deutsche's operations, the two companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Deutsche will retain activities such as IT architecture and information security. The HP deal will allow the bank to reduce costs and launch new products and services more quickly, Deutsche Bank Chief Operating Officer Henry Ritchotte said in a statement.

Lady Gaga, Julie Andrews notch Oscars' top social media moment

Lady Gaga, Julie Andrews notch Oscars' top social media moment

By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There were underpants, Lego statues and a nail-biting finale on the Oscars stage on Sunday, but it was Lady Gaga's "Sound of Music" spectacular that sparked the most chatter on social media. The Oscars lit up digital platforms, with 21 million people logging 58 million interactions about the awards ceremony on Facebook Inc, according to figures from the social networking site on Monday. Lady Gaga performed a medley of hits from "The Sound of Music" and then was joined by Julie Andrews on stage for the 50th anniversary of the musical, which was talked about by 214,000 people per minute globally on Facebook, the company said. According to Nielsen Social, which monitors comments on Twitter Inc, some 60,000 tweets were posted in the minute following Lady Gaga's tribute performance as she was joined by Andrews, making it the most-tweeted moment of the night.

NSA chief declines comment on spyware reports, says programs lawful

NSA chief declines comment on spyware reports, says programs lawful

By Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the National Security Agency refused to comment on Monday on reports that the U.S. government implants spyware on computer hard drives for surveillance purposes, saying "we fully comply with the law." U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers was responding to reports that the NSA had embedded spyware in computers on a vast scale and that along with its British counterpart, had hacked into the world's biggest manufacturer of cellphone SIM cards. Former NSA operatives told Reuters the agency was behind the campaign. Another report, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by the Intercept site, said the U.S. agency and its British counterpart hacked into Gemalto, which produces SIM cards. I don't have time." Even as he declined comment on the reports of aggressive NSA operations, Rogers argued that U.S. intelligence, along with law enforcement agencies, needs the legal means to break strong encryption increasingly built into operating systems such as those of Apple or Google.

U.S. online marketplace for auto loans debuts

By Peter Rudegeair NEW YORK (Reuters) - DriverUp, a U.S. online marketplace that allows hedge funds to invest directly in car loans, launched on Monday with a $50 million investment from venture capital firms. Executives at DriverUp told Reuters that the company is expecting to sell at least $50 million of auto loans to funds, wealthy individuals and other investors through its website this year. DriverUp's parent, Dallas, Texas-based Sierra Auto Finance, will make all the loans on the platform at first, but Chief Executive Sam Ellis said that over time other lenders may sell their loans via the site. Before starting Sierra in 2012, Ellis founded Exeter Finance Corp, a subprime lender acquired by Blackstone Group LP in 2011.

New U.S. defense chief hints little change in Islamic State strategy

New U.S. defense chief hints little change in Islamic State strategy

By Phil Stewart CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Reuters) - New U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday America had the right "ingredients" of a strategy to combat Islamic State, emerging from talks with top U.S. military and diplomatic leaders without hinting at any fundamental shift in the campaign. After a day of meetings in Kuwait, Carter acknowledged some room for improvement, broadly suggesting some allies could contribute more to the fight and saying the United States needed to be more aggressive on social media combating Islamic State. Our global coalition is up to the task and so (is) American leadership." Carter kicked off the talks addressing the more than two dozen senior American officials he invited to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait as "Team America" in the region. He also received an operational update from Lieutenant General James Terry, the senior U.S. commander of operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Cameron: Internet firms must do more after UK girls head to Syria

Cameron: Internet firms must do more after UK girls head to Syria

By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said internet firms must do more to deal with online extremism after three teenage girls radicalized "in their bedrooms" left London in an apparent bid to travel to Syria. Friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew to Turkey last week in what the authorities believe was an attempt to travel to Syria to join the militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State. News of their actions led to calls from lawmakers for social media companies to do more after it was revealed they had been in contact via Twitter with other women involved with Islamic State.

Islamic State uses social media to groom British Muslim girls: think tank

By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Islamic State is using social media and the promise of adventure to lure British Muslim girls to join its cause, an anti-extremism think tank said on Monday, as police attempt to trace three London schoolgirls believed to be heading to Syria. The three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, left their east London homes last week and caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families. The Quilliam Foundation said there had been a concerted effort from Islamic State to use websites like Twitter, Ask.fm and Facebook to groom young girls into believing they have a moral duty and obligation to join the militant group. For girls from conservative Muslim families in Britain, who may be denied the same opportunities as their brothers and male peers, messages offering the chance to "do something with your life" can prove tempting, said managing director Haras Rafiq.

Target halves order size for free shipping to $25

Target halves order size for free shipping to $25

(Reuters) - Target Corp halved the size of online orders eligible for free shipping to $25, undercutting Amazon.com Inc and traditional rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc as it focuses on its online business. Target said on Monday the new threshold comes into effect immediately. Shipping has become a key promotional tool in the escalating war between retailers, with companies increasingly offering free shipping throughout the year instead of just during the holiday shopping season. Target's digital offerings include Target.com and Cartwheel, a mobile app for coupons.

Japan carrier NTT DoCoMo says probing reported SIM hack

Japan carrier NTT DoCoMo says probing reported SIM hack

By Teppei Kasai TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's biggest mobile phone service provider NTT DoCoMo Inc said it is investigating whether its customers were affected by a reported hack of a key mobile phone component supplied by Gemalto NV. News website The Intercept reported on Friday that the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters hacked into Gemalto's systems to steal encryption keys that could unlock security settings on billions of mobile phones.

gadgets

Meet FlexCharger, the only iPhone and Android charger worth getting excited about

Smartphone and tablet chargers are far from being exciting accessories, yet we have to constantly carry them with us on the off-chance that our beloved mobile device runs out of battery life when we least expect it. FlexCharger, however, is a different kind of charger for mobile devices — in fact, it’s the only charger in recent memory that we might even call exciting. DON’T MISS: The iPhone 6 might be low-res, but Apple’s highest-resolution device ever is coming soon The gadget, currently raising money over at Indiegogo includes the ability to simultaneously charge up to 5 devices, while also offering wireless charging support and even acting as a Wi-Fi repeater to improve the Wi-Fi experience in your home. Another useful feature is its retractable

Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: New renders give a fantastic side-by-side comparison

The Apple Watch is going to be available in stores soon, but Apple’s smartwatch is not the only such product you can buy, as plenty of companies are also selling high-tech watches. Popular smartwatch maker Pebble a few days ago launched a new Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble Time device that will directly compete against the Apple Watch and other similar products. The project was an instant smash and has already topped $11 million in pledges, well over its initial $500,000 funding goal. FROM EARLIER: Pebble Time tops Pebble’s original record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in just two days Designer Martin Hajek, who’s constantly coming up with all sorts of amazing renders based on existing and future gadgets, has decided to compare Apples to Pebbles

Ex-NFL star Hernandez sent urgent text on night of murder

Ex-NFL star Hernandez sent urgent text on night of murder

By Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez texted a friend to "hurry" in the hours before prosecutors say the pair and another man murdered an associate in an industrial park in 2013, according to testimony on Friday. Ricardo Leal, a records custodian for Sprint Telecommunications, identified text messages between Hernandez and Ernest Wallace in records and read them aloud from Hernandez's Blackberry phone, which prosecutors showed in court. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is accused of murdering Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating his fiancée's sister.

Actavis hormonal contraceptive device wins FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a hormonal contraceptive device on Friday that gives American women another reversible contraceptive choice as effective as sterilization. The intrauterine device (IUD) device, Liletta, releases the hormone levonorgestrel to inhibit thickening of the womb lining, preventing pregnancy for up to three years. Typically smaller than an iPod Shuffle, the IUD is a t-shaped piece of plastic that must be inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilization. Dublin-based Actavis Plc holds the commercial license for the product, but the marketing application was submitted by non-profit pharmaceutical company Medicines360, which holds the U.S. public sector clinic rights.

8 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free for a limited time

This has been another great week packed full of paid iPhone and iPad apps that were on sale for free. A few from Thursday’s post are still free downloads if you hurry, and now we have a fresh new list for you to enjoy on Friday. Today we have eight nifty paid iOS apps for you, and each and every one of them is on sale for free right now. As always though, these sales could be over before you know it. DON’T MISS: And now, it’s Apple’s turn to copy Samsung These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long

Apple faces second suit from victorious patent firm

Apple faces second suit from victorious patent firm

Fresh off a $532.9 million jury win against Apple Inc , a Texas company is again suing the tech giant, this time over the same patents' use in devices introduced after the original case was underway. Smartflash LLC aims to make Apple pay for using the patent licensing firm's technology without permission in devices not be included in the previous case, such as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the iPad Air 2. The trial covered older Apple devices. On Tuesday, a jury in federal court in Tyler, Texas found that Apple willfully violated three Smartflash patents with devices that use its iTunes software.

Apple to hold event on March 9, as Watch launch nears

Apple to hold event on March 9, as Watch launch nears

Apple Inc sent out invitations for a media event in San Francisco on March 9, about one month before the much-anticipated launch of the new Apple Watch. Chief Executive Tim Cook said last month that the company plans to launch the smartwatch in April. The watch, which will let consumers check their email, pay for goods at retail stores and monitor personal health information, represents Apple's first major new product introduction since the 2010 launch of the iPad. Shares of Apple were up 88 cents at $129.67 on Thursday.

7 awesome paid iPhone apps you can download for free right now

After giving you our biggest list of the week on Wednesday, we’re back with another great list of paid iPhone and iPad apps that are currently on sale for free. There are still a few nice apps available for free in yesterday’s list if you hurry, but today we have a fresh new batch of sales for you to enjoy. Just remember, these great deals could end at any time so be sure to get a move on if you want to take advantage of them! DON’T MISS: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time

Download 145 paid Android apps for free from Amazon for a limited time

Here at BGR, we cover paid iPhone and iPad apps that go on sale for free all the time. Why? It’s simple: we love sharing great deals with our readers and iOS apps go on sale all the time. Unfortunately, the same just isn’t true of Android apps. Big Android app sales are sadly few and far between, but we always try to cover them when they do come around. And you might have guessed, a huge sale on Android apps has just popped up and it’s definitely worthy of your attention. DON’T MISS: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge Android apps tend to go on sale in the Amazon Appstore

Video cameras on commuter train recorded California wreck, official says

OXNARD, Calif. (Reuters) - Video recorders on a Southern California commuter train that struck a truck on Tuesday, sparking a wreck that injured 50 people, captured the crash, a federal official said on Wednesday. The recorders from the collision in Oxnard, about 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Los Angeles, have been sent to Washington, D.C., for analysis, said National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt. "We can say that the forward-facing cameras did record the accident sequence, they recorded the actual collision," he said. ...

Nickelodeon unveils paid streaming service for kids

(Reuters) - Viacom Inc's Nickelodeon unveiled on Wednesday a paid streaming service for children called Noggin that will launch on March 5 for $5.99 a month. The mobile subscription service will be available for Apple Inc's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Noggin serves as a complement to the Nick Jr. app, which features live streaming video as well as on-demand episodes that are available with a paid-TV subscription. Nickelodeon said it is in discussions with pay-TV distributors about offering Noggin as a premium complement to its authenticated subscribers.

How Modern Family shot all of tonight’s episode using iPhones and iPads

Tonight’s episode of Modern Family will have a decidedly Apple twist (again) insofar as the entire episode will be seen from the perspective of a character’s MacBook. Throughout the course of the episode, titled “Connection Lost,” we’ll see the show’s characters interact with one another using FaceTime and iOS’s Messages app via a variety of Apple devices. DON’T MISS: 11 great Google apps you’ve probably never even heard of Additionally, the entire episode itself was primarily shot using an iPhone 6 and an iPad Air 2. Ahead of Wednesday night’s episode, BuzzFeed reached out to series co-creator Steven Levitan to get the inside scoop on how the episode was filmed. The full four-minute video detailing all of the behind the scenes happenings can be downloaded for

New reports suggest Apple is finally going to give you an iPhone with 2GB of RAM this year

In preparation for this year’s major launches — including the Apple Watch, iPhone 6s and iPad Pro — Apple might be bulking up on one crucial component that might otherwise be in short supply later this year, according to some research notes flagged by Barrons. DON’T MISS: iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S6: Samsung’s clone is better than the real thing, carriers say Apple is expected to increase RAM in its upcoming mobile devices and that’s why it’s trying to secure enough supplies to prevent shortages from hindering its device launch plans. Summit Research analyst Srini Sundararajan says that the next-gen iPhone might ship with 2GB of RAM on board, and the Apple Watch should have 0.5GB of RAM. More interesting is the amount of RAM the

BlackBerry working with Google to secure Android devices

BlackBerry working with Google to secure Android devices

BlackBerry Ltd said on Wednesday that it is working with Google Inc to enable its software to manage and secure some of Google's Android devices, a move that builds on BlackBerry's recent partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. In November, BlackBerry announced partnerships with Samsung and other high-profile technology industry players, broadening the reach of its revamped mobile-device management and security platform. BlackBerry said it is offering a "highly secure mobility solution" for Samsung's Android devices.

10 awesome paid iPhone apps that are now free for a limited time (save $55!)

Tuesday’s list of paid iPhone and iPad apps that were on sale for free was a solid one, and some are still available as free downloads if you hurry over to that post. But today we have our biggest list of the week, and it features Wu-Tang… what more could you ask for? DON’T MISS: 11 great Google apps you’ve probably never even heard of These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that

Apple hit with massive half-billion dollar blow in patent trial

Apple lost an iTunes-related patent case, Bloomberg reports, with a jury having decided to award Smartflash a massive $532.9 million in damages. Smartflash was looking for $852 million, whereas Apple said the three patents part of the trial were worth $4.5 million at most. FROM EARLIER: The iPhone 6 might be low-res, but Apple’s highest-resolution device ever is coming soon Smartflash alleged that its inventions, related to digital rights management, to data storage and access through payment systems, were infringed by Apple’s iTunes. The company also asked for royalties on iPhone, iPad and Mac sales, or devices used to access iTunes content. Apple, meanwhile, said that Smartflash doesn’t actually have a product, and it’s simply looking to score royalties from

iOS 9: Simple fixes that could make your iPhone 6 even better

Apple’s iOS 9 software update is rumored to focus on stability improvements following the wave of criticism that hit Apple’s latest operating systems, iOS 8 and Yosemite. A recent report revealed that Apple’s latest mobile OS release isn’t as stable as Google’s, though Google’s Lollipop isn’t as widely used as iOS 8, of course. Now, ZDNet has put together a list of iOS 8 annoyances that Apple could consider fixing in order to further improve the overall iPhone and iPad experience. DON’T MISS: 11 great Google apps you’ve probably never even heard of One of the most obvious “problems” with iOS is storage, especially when it comes to updating older devices to a new version. Apple could improve the way users can manage storage

2015’s iPhone 6s will be a huge cash cow for Apple’s biggest rival

Apple sold a tremendous number of iPhone 6 units in the holiday quarter, significantly outpacing rivals when it comes to smartphones sales and profits. A similar iPhone 6s success later this year would also benefit Samsung this time around, as the company will reportedly provide at least two major iPhone components to Apple. DON’T MISS: iPhone 6 vs. Galaxy S6: Samsung’s clone is better than the real thing, carriers say The South Korean giant will apparently not only be making the majority of A9 chips that will be used in this year’s iPhone 6s and iPad models, but also another significant component for Apple’s iOS devices, The Korea Herald  has learned. Furthermore, in addition to Apple, LG will also rely on Samsung for

7 awesome paid iPhone apps you can download for free if you hurry

We started the week off with a solid list of eight paid iPhone and iPad apps that were all on sale for free for a limited time, and a number of them can still be had for free if you hurry back to that post. Today, however, we have a great new list for you with seven more paid iOS apps that are all free downloads for a short time. There are a few real gems on today’s list — especially for all the mobile photographers out there — so be sure to snag them as quickly as possible or you might miss these great sales. DON’T MISS: 11 great Google apps you’ve probably never even heard of These are paid iPhone

This phone battery needs just 1 minute for a full charge, and it should debut next year

One of the most annoying smartphone-related chores is having to charge on a daily basis — or even more than once a day, depending on your usage. This means you constantly have to make sure you’ve got your charger with you so that the gadget you’re addicted to doesn’t run out of battery life when you least expect it. While many devices can get you through the day, plenty of others can’t, and smartphone makers have yet to figure out how to continuously improve smartphone performance and decrease phone thickness while still offering a decent battery life. StoreDot, a promising Israeli startup, seems to have figured out smartphone batteries once and for all, and the company’s interesting product might head out to

8 awesome paid iPhone apps on sale for free for a limited time

The best way to start off the week on Monday is with a nice healthy breakfast… and by downloading some cool paid iPhone and iPad apps for free. We can’t help you make a sensible morning meal, but we’re more than happy to share a list of paid apps that can now be downloaded without paying a dime for a limited time. Today’s list includes eight nifty apps and as always, these sales could end at any minute so be sure to hurry and download anything that looks appealing. DON’T MISS: How to get 100GB of cloud storage right now for free These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by

This Scorsese-narrated ad might be Apple’s best TV commercial in a long time

During Sunday’s Oscars, Apple aired a new commercial for the iPad Air 2. While Tim Cook recently intimated that the enterprise is Apple’s best bet for iPad growth, the company’s most recent commercial naturally centers on something a bit more relatable — filmmaking. DON’T MISS: To sell the Apple Watch, Apple may go where it has never been before Narrated by Martin Scorsese, the commercial, like a number of other iPad ads, positions Apple’s tablet as a more-than-capable content creation device. Though the commercial itself never once mentions the word “iPad”, it does a successful job of conveying the utility of Apple’s tablet, whether you’re creating music, making a movie, or engaging in any other type of creative endeavor. It’s also worth

One magician needs nothing but an iPad to perform his magic tricks

Reading comments from Apple fans on around the Internet, it probably won’t take long to find someone referring to the iPad as a “magical” device. Although Apple’s tablet is undeniably one of the best on the market, it can’t bend the fabric of reality — at least, it couldn’t until German magician Simon Pierro got his hands on it. READ MORE: 5 killer features that would make the iPad a true laptop replacement This week on Ellen, Pierro delighted the audience by pulling items out from the screen of the iPad, pouring milk on a friend through FaceTime and even swiping a selfie into a picture frame. It’s a bit goofy, but it’s nice to see a magician incorporate technology into his act. Watch the full

8 awesome paid iPhone apps you can download for free right now

Another week has come and gone, but it’s not over just yet. Before you pack things in and get ready to enjoy your weekend, we have one last list of nifty paid iPhone and iPad apps that are currently on sale for free. Yesterday’s list was easily one of the best ones this week, and several of the apps on that list can still be downloaded for free if you hurry. Of course today, we have eight more paid apps that can be downloaded for free right now. DON’T MISS: How to find out if Superfish infected your computer – and what to do about it These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for

BlackBerry updates software, offers access to Android apps

BlackBerry updates software, offers access to Android apps

BlackBerry rolled out a major software update on Thursday, allowing users of its entire suite of BlackBerry 10 devices such as the Z10, Q10 and Z30 to access Android applications, and a host of other features, including Blend. The company said the BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 gives users the ability to access both the BlackBerry World appstore and the Amazon Appstore that provides access to a host of Android applications previously unavailable on the BlackBerry platform. In addition, BlackBerry said the new software will allow its users to access its new BlackBerry Blend feature that impressed many, when it was unveiled last year.

7 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free for a limited time (huge $66 value!)

Yesterday’s list of eight paid iPhone and iPad apps was a solid one indeed, and several of them are still free downloads if you hurry over to that post. Today, however, we have what is hands down our best list of the week. It only has seven apps on it, but they’re all terrific and normally they would cost you a combined $66 to download. For a short time, however, each and every one can be had for free. DON’T MISS: 12 great Amazon features you might not know about (but will wish you had) These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to

8 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free downloads right now

After posting a great list of seven paid iPhone and iPad apps that were all on sale for free yesterday, we’re back with another solid list today. Wednesday’s list will help you conquer the hump day blues with several cool iOS 8 widget apps, and there’s even a paid keyboard extension that’s on sale for free right now. As always though, these sales could be over at any moment so be sure to hurry if you see anything you might like. Finally, don’t forget that a few of the apps from yesterday’s list are always still free the follow day, so be sure to look through that list as well! DON’T MISS: 12 great Amazon features you might not know about (but

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 get top exposure in brilliant sitcom episode

The iPhone and iPad have awesome photo-taking and video-recording capabilities and directors have used them to record not only a couple of Apple commercials, but also an entire surprise hit indie movie. Further proving that Apple’s iOS devices are dependable tools for movie-making is Modern Family’s latest gimmick: An entire episode was shot using almost only the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2, The New York Times reports. That’s the sort of free publicity that Samsung’s billions can’t always get. DON’T MISS: The real brilliance of Apple Pay – the iPhone 6 gets free marketing from major banks The Modern Family episode shot using Apple gadgets and applications — namely the company’s FaceTime and iMessage apps — will air on

One more way the 12-inch MacBook Air may be more like an iOS device

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook Air, which is supposed to be unveiled and launched in stores in the near future, might have a special unexpected feature, a report from Apple.club.tw suggests. FROM EARLIER: Apple might release new MacBook Airs later this month – but there’s an unfortunate twist According to information received from its sources, who have delivered accurate information about Apple products in the past, the thinner MacBook Air could come with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor embedded in the trackpad, which could allow users to safely purchase products online using Apple Pay, similar to how you can already do so with the iPad Air 2. Furthermore, Touch ID trackpads could also be used for logging into your MacBook. More interestingly, the 12-inch MacBook

wireless

BGR at MWC 2015: On the hunt for the next big thing

The 2015 edition of the Mobile World Congress show that is about to kick off in Barcelona, Spain will likely be one of the best in recent years when it comes to new hardware announcements, as at least two hot mobile devices will be unveiled during the show — the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 each have their own special events on Sunday. But that’s not all that’s happening at MWC, as there will be plenty of interesting products on display coming from much smaller players. FROM EARLIER: Galaxy S6 already dominates MWC… and the show hasn’t even started If you fit the bill — a startup that thinks it has figured out the next big idea in mobile, whether

You’re really going to want to tune in to BGR tomorrow…

The annual Mobile World Congress trade show has been a bit stale in recent years, since most big smartphone vendors have been hosting their own dedicated press conferences to make key announcements. This year, however, that is most certainly not the case. Three of the biggest smartphones of the year — the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge and HTC One M9 — will all be unveiled tomorrow, and BGR will be on hand reporting live as news breaks from Barcelona, Spain. DON’T MISS: Why Samsung fell There will be plenty of news pouring out of MWC 2015 on Sunday, but two events will undoubtedly be the highlights of the day. First, HTC is unveiling its new flagship HTC one M9

Don’t use Facebook’s mobile app on your smartphone

Even if you’re someone who’s addicted to Facebook, you really ought to consider just accessing it through your mobile browser. Business Insider directs our attention to antivirus software firm AVG’s rankings of the worst mobile apps for your phone’s battery and its overall performance, and Facebook is not surprisingly one of the worst offenders. RELATED: 10 apps that are killing your Android phone’s battery life Overall, AVG found that Facebook’s mobile app had the biggest overall impact on your phone’s performance, the third-highest battery drain, the third-highest for data traffic and the third-highest overall storage consumption. What makes these sorts of issues particularly egregious is that you really don’t need to use Facebook’s app to get a solid experience with Facebook on your

I’m starting to think that this winter will never end

I live in New York City and I can’t remember the last time I left my apartment just to take a stroll. If I walk out that door, it’s because I need food or because I have a previous obligation; work or social. The reason I’m not willingly going outdoors isn’t that I’m lazy (although that isn’t helping), it’s because the temperature has been hovering around freezing for nearly two months straight. DON’T MISS: These are the apps that are killing your phone’s battery life N.R. Kleinfield wrote an article for The New York Times on Friday discussing February’s ridiculous average temperature of just 24 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, that’s about 11 degrees below the standard February average, and has a decent chance

Do you remember what Facebook, YouTube and Google looked like years ago?

The Internet has evolved at an incredible pace. Websites that looked amazing less than a decade ago are absolutely hideous by today’s standards — even the websites that are now worth billions of dollars. DON’T MISS: iOS 8.2 release expected next week followed closely by iOS 8.3 In order to demonstrate just how rapidly the Internet has changed, Ninja Essays put together a fascinating infographic that compares the most popular websites at launch vs. how they look today. “Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, eBay, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Flickr changed the way we used the Internet,” writes Ninja Essays. “Back in their beginnings, these were rudimentary websites that contained some links and information. Today, they are some of the most beautiful and most efficient

Forget Airbnb, you can rent an entire village and this horse in Hungary

Many people may have already tried Airbnb and similar services that offer great alternatives to hotels, but not many can say they were able to rent an entire village. That’s apparently one possibility available to tourists traveling through Hungary, as they’ll be able to rent an entire village, complete with the horse in the picture above, for just around €700 a day, The Guardian reports. DON’T MISS: I thought the ‘What color is this dress?’ controversy was stupid… until I asked my wife to weigh in Sure, crazier things have happened — like a recent dress controversy — and yes, this is a marketing stunt to bring some publicity to a very small community that’s slowly disappearing. But that doesn’t change

Scientist says he’s two years away from being able to safely remove your head and put it on a new body

Head transplant surgery used to be a dream that we only saw in science fiction movies such as The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (pictured above). However, CNET brings us word that one Italian scientist says he’s a mere two years away from being able to do real-life human head transplants. DON’T MISS: I thought the ‘What color is this dress?’ controversy was stupid… until I asked my wife to weigh in Surgeon Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, thinks he’s developed a new technique for head transplants that will avoid some of the problems caused by earlier attempts at such surgeries involving dogs and monkeys. “In a paper published in Surgical Neurology International, he has outlined his technique:

You can already pretend you have a Galaxy S6 by downloading these official apps

The Galaxy S6 leaks continue with just a couple of days left until Samsung’s 2015 flagships get official, and this time around we’re looking at something completely different from your average image or hardware leak. The first pictures showing Samsung’s redesigned TouchWiz interface for the phone have appeared, and the first Galaxy S6 apps are already available to download from xda-developers. DON’T MISS: Here’s how you can watch Sunday’s HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 events live As Phone Arena points out, there are several applications that can be downloaded, including the S6 Optical Reader, S6 GeoNews, S6 Gear Manager, and S6 Kids Mode. The Optical Reader app will use the camera to detect text, business cards or QR codes, GeoNews provides natural

Meet FlexCharger, the only iPhone and Android charger worth getting excited about

Smartphone and tablet chargers are far from being exciting accessories, yet we have to constantly carry them with us on the off-chance that our beloved mobile device runs out of battery life when we least expect it. FlexCharger, however, is a different kind of charger for mobile devices — in fact, it’s the only charger in recent memory that we might even call exciting. DON’T MISS: The iPhone 6 might be low-res, but Apple’s highest-resolution device ever is coming soon The gadget, currently raising money over at Indiegogo includes the ability to simultaneously charge up to 5 devices, while also offering wireless charging support and even acting as a Wi-Fi repeater to improve the Wi-Fi experience in your home. Another useful feature is its retractable

Apple Watch vs. Pebble Time: New renders give a fantastic side-by-side comparison

The Apple Watch is going to be available in stores soon, but Apple’s smartwatch is not the only such product you can buy, as plenty of companies are also selling high-tech watches. Popular smartwatch maker Pebble a few days ago launched a new Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble Time device that will directly compete against the Apple Watch and other similar products. The project was an instant smash and has already topped $11 million in pledges, well over its initial $500,000 funding goal. FROM EARLIER: Pebble Time tops Pebble’s original record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in just two days Designer Martin Hajek, who’s constantly coming up with all sorts of amazing renders based on existing and future gadgets, has decided to compare Apples to Pebbles

Ex-NFL star Hernandez sent urgent text on night of murder

Ex-NFL star Hernandez sent urgent text on night of murder

By Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez texted a friend to "hurry" in the hours before prosecutors say the pair and another man murdered an associate in an industrial park in 2013, according to testimony on Friday. Ricardo Leal, a records custodian for Sprint Telecommunications, identified text messages between Hernandez and Ernest Wallace in records and read them aloud from Hernandez's Blackberry phone, which prosecutors showed in court. Hernandez, 25, a former tight end for the New England Patriots, is accused of murdering Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating his fiancée's sister.

4 great products on Amazon that will turn your house into a smart home

The smart home is the wave of the future, but sadly very few of our homes were built with automated solutions in mind. If you want a smart home in 2015, you’re going to have to fashion one yourself, but we’ve taken the time to find a few essentials on Amazon that you’ll need in order to make that dream a reality. LAST TIME: Download 145 paid Android apps for free from Amazon for a limited time Nest Learning Thermostat Auto-Schedule – Remembers the temperatures you like and programs itself Auto-Away – Saves energy by automatically turning itself down when you’re away Remote control – Connect the Nest thermostat to Wi-Fi to control it from your smartphone, laptop or tablet Easy

Google is proposing a crazy new futuristic campus – here are some awesome renders

Apple has gotten a lot of attention for the work it’s doing with its so-called “Spaceship” campus but it turns out Google is looking to build an insane-looking futuristic campus of its own. Google on Friday revealed plans to build a massive new campus in the North Bayshore area of Mountain View, California and it posted some absolutely stunning renders of the proposed campus on its Google+ page. FROM EARLIER: Biggest leak yet shows the Galaxy S6 Edge is going to look so much better than you thought What makes this new campus particularly striking is that it sounds like Google is taking a page from its Project Ara smartphone and will make its new campus almost moddable. “Instead of constructing

Tim Cook believes the Apple Watch will slowly replace every gadget you own

Why would anyone want to buy an smartwatch? This is a question that many of us have likely asked ourselves over the past several months as Android Wear devices begin to seep into the market and Apple prepares its first wearable. It’s also a question that Tim Cook and the team at Apple had to ask themselves, but they appear to have come up with an answer. READ MORE: 8 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free for a limited time “This will be just like the iPhone: People wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons,” Cook told The Telegraph in a recent interview.

These are the apps that are killing your phone’s battery life

Smartphone battery technology simply cannot keep up with the rate at which other smartphone tech is improving. Some new components are being designed to help extend handset battery life, but it’s not easy to compensate for the newer high-resolution screens vendors are now using. To compound matters, some of the most popular apps in the world are terrible when it comes to power efficiency, and now they have been named and shamed in a new study from AVG. DON’T MISS: And now, it’s Apple’s turn to copy Samsung In a study titled “Android App Performance Report,” the software and security experts at AVG turned their attention to application performance in the fourth quarter of 2014. The result is a very thorough look

Leonard Nimoy, the original ‘Spock,’ dies at 83

Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek television series, has passed away at the age of 83. The New York Times notes that Nimoy announced he had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease last year, and his wife confirmed that this was the cause of his death on Friday. Aside from being an actor, Nimoy was also a director, a writer and a photographer, among his countless other pursuits within the arts. He was an Emmy nominee as well, and a popular public figure for the entirety of his adult life. Nimoy reprised the role of Spock in recent years for the cinematic reboot of the Star Trek series. A life is like a garden. Perfect moments

iOS 8.2 release expected next week followed closely by iOS 8.3

Apple has been hard at work on multiple upcoming iOS versions simultaneously, and we’ve been told that iOS 8.2 is finally moving to the release stage. Barring any last minute problems, I would expect to see iOS 8.2 released this coming Monday, or the following week at the absolute latest. DON’T MISS: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge Additionally, we were told there might be as many as four iOS 8.3 beta versions. Apple released iOS 8.3 beta 2 earlier this week, so that leaves two more versions before the company makes it publicly available to customers. iOS 8.3 adds support for multiple new features and is filled with improvements in the operating system,

Biggest leak yet: The Galaxy S6 Edge is going to look so much better than you thought

If you’re not excited for the Galaxy S6 Edge right now, we don’t blame you. After all, Samsung’s first attempt at making a smartphone with a wraparound display, the Galaxy Note Edge, was nothing at all to write home about. However, it’s looking like the Note Edge was a precursor to much better things, as newly leaked pictures of the upcoming Galaxy S6 Edge show. FROM EARLIER: Major leak from Sprint gives us our clearest look yet at the Galaxy S6 Nowhereelse.fr draws our attention to some new leaked photos of the S6 Edge posted over at CNET Korea. As you can see below, the device doesn’t look nearly as awkward and unbalanced as the Note Edge did. It helps, of

The Boy Genius Report Podcast: Episode 1

Yes, I’m actually doing this. There’s too much to say that can’t be written, and for the last couple years people have always emailed me to start this up again. This time around, I’m taking it seriously. I’m doing it every week, and I’m looking for great guests or even cohosts — let’s see where this goes together. In this first episode, I try to bring a sane perspective to the Apple Watch pricing frenzy, share my iPhone 6 Plus love (once again), talk about how I got into Apple products in the beginning, and break down what the Apple Car means for the company and how I think Apple could potentially make one. Please feel free to share feedback on the show using

Amazing Tesla Model S easter egg: Here’s what happens when you type ‘007’

A recently discovered easter egg in the Tesla Model S might very well be the coolest easter egg ever discovered. Though easter eggs (code for a hidden message or inside joke embedded in software) are typically found in PC-based programs, that didn’t stop Tesla from joining in on the fun in an incredibly awesome way. Don’t miss: Tesla’s hugely anticipated Model X gets caught on video If you go to the suspension control panel setting on the Model S dash, you’ll find that a photo of the Model S has been replaced by a Lotus Esprit submarine, the very same one that appeared in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. BusinessInsider has the full scoop: By first clicking on the

8 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free for a limited time

This has been another great week packed full of paid iPhone and iPad apps that were on sale for free. A few from Thursday’s post are still free downloads if you hurry, and now we have a fresh new list for you to enjoy on Friday. Today we have eight nifty paid iOS apps for you, and each and every one of them is on sale for free right now. As always though, these sales could be over before you know it. DON’T MISS: And now, it’s Apple’s turn to copy Samsung These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long

And now, it’s Apple’s turn to copy Samsung

The Gear VR is probably the greatest thing Samsung has created in a long time. The simple but well-made virtual reality headset blows minds young and old. I have personally shown it to a number of people, and so far I have yet to come across anyone whose jaw didn’t drop. It’s awesome. And it looks like Samsung’s biggest competitor may be getting ready to launch a rival device. DON’T MISS: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge Samsung teamed up with virtual reality leader Oculus to create the Gear VR accessory, which uses a Galaxy Note 4 as a snap-in display in front of two lenses that help create the VR effect.

Major leak from Sprint gives us our clearest look yet at the Galaxy S6

Samsung is about to announce two similar but distinct sixth-generation Galaxy S versions, including the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, but the devices have already been thoroughly leaked. Most details about the two handsets, including design, hardware and software features have seemingly been revealed in many reports, but the leaks are far from over. In fact, Sprint just gave us the biggest Galaxy S6 leak so far. DON’T MISS THIS: The Boy Genius Report Podcast: Episode 1 The carrier, which has already started its Galaxy S6 marketing campaign a few days ago, is reportedly going to host a special Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge contest, offering customers who register for more information the chance to win one of the six Galaxy S6 units

This can’t be real: Leaked Galaxy S6 earbuds look like blatant Apple EarPod ripoffs

It’s still much too soon to pass any final judgements and call Samsung’s upcoming new Galaxy S6 handset an iPhone ripoff. Yes, some of the evidence thus far has been fairly damning — this leaked Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6 photo comparison lets you be the judge — but everything is just a rumor until Samsung makes it official during its press conference on Sunday. After plenty of evidence has piled up to suggest that Samsung took some pretty obvious inspiration from Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, a new leak suggests that Samsung’s tendency to borrow from Apple may have just crossed over from flattering to just plain sad. DON’T MISS: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo

HTC One M9: Massive new leak offers videos, specs and so much more

The HTC One M9 is one of the two most interesting Android smartphones about to be unveiled at MWC, but it’s hardly a well-kept secret. A wide variety of leaks have already revealed everything there is to know about the handset, including specs and software features, going as far as to ignite the spirits around the direction HTC has taken with the design of its third One flagship. DON’T MISS THIS: The Boy Genius Report Podcast: Episode 1 As a result, it’s not surprising that @upleaks, a source who has provided many HTC One M9 leaks so far, has posted even more thorough details on both the HTC One M9 and its supposed bigger M9 Plus version, as well as high-quality videos that

Driver of truck hit by California train released from custody

Driver of truck hit by California train released from custody

By Dana Feldman VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - A driver who was taken into custody after his truck was hit by a Southern California commuter train in a fiery wreck that injured 50 people was released on Thursday after prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, inmate records showed. Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run after police said they found him walking and talking on a cell phone "in distress" more than a mile from the scene of Tuesday's destruction in Oxnard, California. Oxnard police have said Sanchez-Ramirez was taken into custody for leaving the scene of the crash and that they were investigating whether drugs and alcohol were a factor. "While charges will not be filed at this time, the arrest of Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez by the Oxnard Police Department was clearly appropriate and lawful," prosecutors said.

Here are the Apple Watch’s first magazine ads

With the Apple Watch launch coming in April, now is the time for the company to start turning up its ad campaign for the new device. Ad Age has snagged some pictures of the first Apple Watch magazine ads that are slated to appear in the March Issue of Vogue and they not surprisingly take a minimalist tack for showing off Apple’s first wearable computer. FROM EARLIER: Tim Cook reportedly spills new key details about the Apple Watch This ad, for example, shows off an 18-karat gold Apple Watch that’s sporting a white sport band. The watch itself is front and center with copious amounts of white space surrounding it along with a tiny amount of text letting people know what

Warren Buffett, the world’s fourth richest man, has the diet of a 6 year old

To call Warren Buffett a successful investor would be a gross understatement. The man who owns nearly 10% of Coca-Cola and is worth nearly $73 billion is, quite literally, the most successful investor in history. Not surprisingly, investors have long looked to Buffett for even the tiniest morsel of investment advice. Don’t Miss: I lost 50 lbs in 3 months – here’s how technology helped me What is somewhat surprising is that Buffett, still on top of his game at 84 years old, has a diet of a 6 year old, or perhaps, a video game playing teenager. In a recent interview with Fortune, Buffett divulged that he drinks five cans of coke a day. “If I eat 2,700 calories a day,

The third most popular website on the planet still can’t make a profit

YouTube completely changed the way we consume media, and it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Google owned property was the third most visited website in all of 2014. Whether or not you’re looking for videos of historical political debates or clips of thrill seekers tossing themselves off of buildings, YouTube has every and any type of video one can possibly think of. As the third most popular website in the world with over 1 billion users per month, one would think that that YouTube, which Google acquired in November of 2006, would be a huge moneymaker for the search giant. The reality isn’t quite as rosy. Related: The 10 most expensive acquisitions Google ever made The

Galaxy S6 already dominates MWC… and the show hasn’t even started

Samsung has already released a plethora of Galaxy S6 teaser videos before its March 1st event gets underway, while at the same time hinting at future features of the phone in official blog posts describing some of the technologies it uses for top devices. The company has also started building up anticipation for the handset in the U.S. with help of three of the top four carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Unsurprisingly, Samsung has also started putting up Galaxy S6 signage — lots of it— in Barcelona, Spain, with several days to go until the phone is officially announced. FROM EARLIER: Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6 vs. HTC One M9: How Samsung might leave rivals in the dust If you happen

Video: Watch us break Far Cry 4 for our own amusement

Far Cry 4 was one of my favorite games of 2014. It builds upon everything that made its predecessor great and it provides dozens of hours of fun, even beyond its lengthy campaign. To this day, my friends and I are still capturing outposts, hijacking trucks and skinning animals for a few hours every week, but we’ll all still readily admit that the game isn’t perfect. READ MORE: Here are the free games you’ll get on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in March Last week, a friend and I were on our way to take down the final fortress still standing in his game. Fortresses are like outposts, but far more difficult to capture. We were thousands of meters away when we

It sounds like your Apple Watch will come sooner rather than later

We already knew that Apple plans to release the Apple Watch in April but a new report from MacRumors indicates that the watch will be released in the early part of the month. DON’T MISS: Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6 vs. HTC One M9: How Samsung might leave rivals in the dust “According to a reliable source that spoke with MacRumors, Apple is planning to begin moving Apple Watches to centralized distribution points in the U.S. during the first few days of the month, with an Apple Watch release possibly coming during the first full week of April, between April 6 and April 10,” the publication writes. We know that Apple is planning a big March 9th event where it will

Here’s how you can watch Sunday’s HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 events live

The most important duel at this year’s MWC edition will be between HTC and Samsung, as both companies will unveil their two big 2015 flagship phones a day before the event kicks off. On Sunday, HTC and Samsung will unveil the HTC One M9 and the Galaxy S6, respectively, devices that are already embroiled in a fierce leaks battle. DON’T MISS: Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6 vs. HTC One M9: How Samsung might leave rivals in the dust Android fans who want to watch these announcements from home should know that both companies have already revealed live stream details. HTC has set up a special live streaming page on its website (image above), where users will be able to tune

Apple makes nearly eight times as much money as all Android vendors combined

A new report from Strategy Analytics sheds further light on the state of the smartphone business in the fourth quarter last year, confirming once again the profound effect the iPhone 6 had on the industry. The analytics company revealed that during Q4 2014, Android only managed to capture 11% of the global smartphone profit share, a record-low for Google’s ecosystem, while Apple took home a record-high 89% of all smartphone profits. FROM EARLIER: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge “Global smartphone operating profit grew 31% annually from US$16.2 billion in Q4 2013 to US$21.2 billion in Q4 2014,”Strategy Analytics Director Linda Sui said. “Android hardware vendors combined took a record-low 11% global

Mystery solved: This is what’s inside a Magic 8 Ball

The “Magic 8 Ball” is a perfect example of a toy that has survived generation after generation thanks in large part to its simplicity. Ask a question, give the 8 Ball a shake, and mystic beings will break through from other realms to give you your answer. And of course, if you don’t like that answer, just give the toy another shake. Not even the Magic 8 Ball’s inventor likely thought that such an inexpensive little novelty toy would have become so popular throughout the years. Even today though, the Magic 8 Ball is Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling item in the “Toy Activity & Play Balls” category. And at $8.00, it’s certainly affordable. But the real mystery surrounding the toy is this: What’s

apple-macintosh

Who was Boris Nemtsov and why was he murdered?

Who was Boris Nemtsov and why was he murdered?

The gunning-down of Russian opposition leader Boris Y. Nemtsov has some pundits consumed with the whodunit. “The biggest theory which dumbfounded me is the notion that Nemtsov’s own party ordered his murder because that’s just absolutely ridiculous and I can’t even believe it’s being dignified,” Knight says. Ms. Knight has a PhD degree in Russian politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Investigators search for what triggered Missouri rampage

Investigators search for what triggered Missouri rampage

By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Reuters) - What led Joseph Aldridge to gun down seven people in a southern Missouri hamlet remained uncertain on Saturday, though authorities speculated that the death of the gunman's mother from cancer could have triggered the rampage. Aldridge, 36, embarked on a shooting spree late on Thursday in the rural community of Tyrone, going door-to-door in the wintry night, killing four relatives and three neighbors, and wounding another, before fatally shooting himself, police said. The massacre unfolded shortly after Aldridge's mother, 74-year-old Alice Aldridge, died from complications of metastatic lung cancer. Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker said an autopsy revealed the fatal condition.

Homeland Security funding drama darkens U.S. fiscal outlook

Homeland Security funding drama darkens U.S. fiscal outlook

By Richard Cowan and David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress narrowly averted a partial shutdown of the U.S. domestic security agency late on Friday night, but the forces behind the chaotic episode remain - fractious Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner's lack of control over them. In five to seven months, the federal debt ceiling will again be reached, and by October Congress must pass spending bills to keep the government running in the new fiscal year. Failing to deal effectively with these issues could have much more damaging repercussions - such as a broad government shutdown or a debt default - than a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Some conservatives speak of ousting Boehner, but it is unlikely they can muster enough votes, while others made clear on Friday that they were willing to take big risks to score ideological points.     Brinkmanship like this, reminiscent of 2013's 16-day federal government shutdown, was supposed to be over.

Chicago protesters demand probe of what they call police 'black site'

British newspaper The Guardian said in a report earlier this week the Chicago Police Department holds suspects and witnesses for long periods of time at a former warehouse called Homan Square, without giving them access to attorneys or phone calls to family and without recording their detention. The piece was the subject of intense debate in recent days in Chicago, with some criminal justice experts saying it was exaggerated and others giving it credence. Chicago police spokesman Martin Malone did not immediately return a call requesting comment on Saturday. Earlier in the week, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in a statement said it "abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses" at Homan Square and other facilities.

'Jihadi John' contemplated suicide in 2010: report

'Jihadi John' contemplated suicide in 2010: report

The London man believed to be Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John" told a journalist four years ago that surveillance by British security services had left him contemplating suicide, it emerged Saturday. Mohammed Emwazi, named by media and experts as the militant thought to have beheaded at least five Western hostages held by the IS group, told the Mail on Sunday reporter that he felt like a "dead man walking". Prime Minister David Cameron and a former head of foreign spy agency MI6 strongly rejected the idea, while London mayor Boris Johnson accused Cage of an "apology for terror".

social-media

Nick Gordon Blasts Bobby Brown on Twitter: My Voice Would Wake Bobbi Kristina Up

Nick Gordon Blasts Bobby Brown on Twitter: My Voice Would Wake Bobbi Kristina Up

Nick Gordon has gone on a Twitter rage as he remains banned from visiting Bobbi Kristina Brown, who's still in a coma. Earlier this month, after Bobbi Kristina was found unconscious in her bathtub, police launched a criminal investigation into the case and, according to reports, her longtime partner ... Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com Bobbi Kristina Brown Bobby Brown Nick Gordon

Don’t use Facebook’s mobile app on your smartphone

Even if you’re someone who’s addicted to Facebook, you really ought to consider just accessing it through your mobile browser. Business Insider directs our attention to antivirus software firm AVG’s rankings of the worst mobile apps for your phone’s battery and its overall performance, and Facebook is not surprisingly one of the worst offenders. RELATED: 10 apps that are killing your Android phone’s battery life Overall, AVG found that Facebook’s mobile app had the biggest overall impact on your phone’s performance, the third-highest battery drain, the third-highest for data traffic and the third-highest overall storage consumption. What makes these sorts of issues particularly egregious is that you really don’t need to use Facebook’s app to get a solid experience with Facebook on your

Do you remember what Facebook, YouTube and Google looked like years ago?

The Internet has evolved at an incredible pace. Websites that looked amazing less than a decade ago are absolutely hideous by today’s standards — even the websites that are now worth billions of dollars. DON’T MISS: iOS 8.2 release expected next week followed closely by iOS 8.3 In order to demonstrate just how rapidly the Internet has changed, Ninja Essays put together a fascinating infographic that compares the most popular websites at launch vs. how they look today. “Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, eBay, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Flickr changed the way we used the Internet,” writes Ninja Essays. “Back in their beginnings, these were rudimentary websites that contained some links and information. Today, they are some of the most beautiful and most efficient

Leonard Nimoy's Final Tweet; Stars Remember 'Star Trek' Legend

Leonard Nimoy's Final Tweet; Stars Remember 'Star Trek' Legend

Less than a week before his death, Leonard Nimoy posted what would be his final message on Twitter. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. He signed the Tweet "LLAP" – short for Spock's iconic phrase, "Live Long and Prosper," which was how the actor signed most of his Tweets. Following the news of Nimoy's death on Friday at age 83, Hollywood took to Twitter to mourn the "Star Trek" icon.

Twitter boosts effort to stop spoofing, data leaks

Twitter boosts effort to stop spoofing, data leaks

Twitter said Thursday it was ramping up efforts to crack down on impersonation on the messaging platform as well as the leaking of personal, private data. The announcement came as an update to Twitter's online safety push announced in December. Bhatnagar said Twitter is devoting more resources to curbing harassment and other safety issues. Twitter, which has been growing more slowly than rival social networks, has been making effort to boost confidence and engagement in the one-to-many messaging platform.

How 3 Ordinary Americans Are Getting Paid for Their Social Media Posts

How 3 Ordinary Americans Are Getting Paid for Their Social Media Posts

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are profiting off your posts. Last quarter, Facebook reported ad revenue of $3.6 billion, and that’s 53 percent more than just one year ago. A new social media upstart called Tsu is trying to do just that. Tsu gives 90 percent of its revenue back to its users.

Cricket-Unlikely fan McGuinness leads Twitter cheers for Ireland

Hours after Ireland made it two wins out of two at the cricket World Cup, the team were still the most talked about topic on Twitter back home. Cricket might not be played widely in Ireland but for the third World Cup running, the national side are winning new fans as they followed up their opening game upset of West Indies with a nerve-shredding two-wicket victory over United Arab Emirates. Congratulations on Twitter -- including from politicians like Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness -- made sure Ireland's cricketers replaced Barcelona and Luis Suarez as the top trending topics on the country's social network.

Struggling Younis denies retirement tweet

Struggling Younis denies retirement tweet

Out of form senior Pakistan batsman Younis Khan denied on Wednesday tweeting a plan to retire from one-day internationals after the ongoing World Cup, saying he was working hard to come good for his team. "I am working hard to come good in batting and have not decided anything like that." Younis has been a subject of severe criticism from former Pakistan players after scores of six and nought in Pakistan's defeats in their first two matches of the World Cup. He was asked to open the innings in Pakistan's first match against arch-rivals India in Adelaide, a promotion which backfired. Pakistan next play Zimbabwe in a Pool B fixture in Brisbane on March 1, a game they must win to harbour realistic hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Facebook claims 2 million advertisers

Facebook claims 2 million advertisers

Facebook said Tuesday it has boosted the number of advertisers on the social network to two million as it launched a mobile app for those managing their commercial pitches. Dan Levy, Facebook's vice president for global marketing and small business, said the number of advertisers has doubled over the past year and a half. Levy said the new Ads Manager app would give those advertisers the ability to manage their ads from mobile devices, as Facebook becomes increasingly used on smartphones and tablets. A Facebook post signed by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg paid tribute to the small businesses using Facebook, and noted that the Ads Manager app for Apple devices would be available as of Tuesday and in the next two weeks worldwide.

Facebook is biggest drain on smartphone performance: study

Facebook is biggest drain on smartphone performance: study

It seems that the more socially connected you are, the more likely your smartphone's battery is running almost on empty. Different apps put a strain on a smartphone in different ways and, according to online security company AVG Technologies, social media apps have the biggest impact, followed by games and shopping apps. It measures how installed apps dent smartphone performance and results are collated and presented every quarter. At the top of the list is Facebook which, thanks to the app being always running in the background monitoring activity on the network and sending notifications, has the biggest overall drain.

Facebook counts 2 million active advertisers, mostly small businesses

Facebook counts 2 million active advertisers, mostly small businesses

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that its active advertisers rose to 2 million, a 33 percent increase from the 1.5 million it had in July 2014. The vast majority of the advertisers, defined as those that have placed an ad on the social media platform in the last 30 days, represent small- and medium-sized business owners. "Small business owners are really hard to reach and they are not tech savvy usually," Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview. Facebook also launched a mobile app for advertisers to use to manage their campaigns.

Lady Gaga, Julie Andrews notch Oscars' top social media moment

Lady Gaga, Julie Andrews notch Oscars' top social media moment

By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There were underpants, Lego statues and a nail-biting finale on the Oscars stage on Sunday, but it was Lady Gaga's "Sound of Music" spectacular that sparked the most chatter on social media. The Oscars lit up digital platforms, with 21 million people logging 58 million interactions about the awards ceremony on Facebook Inc, according to figures from the social networking site on Monday. Lady Gaga performed a medley of hits from "The Sound of Music" and then was joined by Julie Andrews on stage for the 50th anniversary of the musical, which was talked about by 214,000 people per minute globally on Facebook, the company said. According to Nielsen Social, which monitors comments on Twitter Inc, some 60,000 tweets were posted in the minute following Lady Gaga's tribute performance as she was joined by Andrews, making it the most-tweeted moment of the night.

Lawyer: Man accused of luring teen via Facebook not a killer

Lawyer: Man accused of luring teen via Facebook not a killer

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A man accused of luring a 15-year-old girl to her death with a fake Facebook page was at home with his family the night of the killing, his attorneys said Monday, accusing the prosecution of making "big mistakes" in their case.

Islamic State uses social media to groom British Muslim girls: think tank

By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Islamic State is using social media and the promise of adventure to lure British Muslim girls to join its cause, an anti-extremism think tank said on Monday, as police attempt to trace three London schoolgirls believed to be heading to Syria. The three friends, two aged 15 and one 16, left their east London homes last week and caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families. The Quilliam Foundation said there had been a concerted effort from Islamic State to use websites like Twitter, Ask.fm and Facebook to groom young girls into believing they have a moral duty and obligation to join the militant group. For girls from conservative Muslim families in Britain, who may be denied the same opportunities as their brothers and male peers, messages offering the chance to "do something with your life" can prove tempting, said managing director Haras Rafiq.

French minister meets with Google, Facebook, Twitter

French minister meets with Google, Facebook, Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The French interior minister said he asked Google, Facebook and Twitter to work directly with French officials during investigations and to immediately remove terrorist propaganda when authorities alert them to it.

security

China drops leading tech brands for certain state purchases

China drops leading tech brands for certain state purchases

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China has dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some say is a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance. Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China's domestic technology industry from competition. The lists cover smaller-scale direct purchases of technology equipment, and central government bodies can only buy items not on the list as part of a competitive tender process. Chief casualty was U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc, which in 2012 counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but had none left by late 2014, a Reuters analysis of official data shows.

Massive SIM card hack might have been too sophisticated to be caught in time

A new Snowden leak a few days ago revealed that the NSA and GCHQ conducted a complex hack operation that focused on obtaining the secure encryption keys that protect mobile communications in devices with SIM cards. A subsequent report revealed that the goal of spy agencies might have been a lot bigger, as they may have been hunting for other security keys that would let them deploy spyware on any mobile device with a SIM card inside, and users would have no idea that anything had happened. FROM EARLIER: Gemalto confirms hack, but denies massive SIM keys theft Gemalto acknowledged the hack, but downplayed it, saying it couldn’t have resulted in a mass-theft of SIM card keys. The company also said that

Apple makes nearly eight times as much money as all Android vendors combined

A new report from Strategy Analytics sheds further light on the state of the smartphone business in the fourth quarter last year, confirming once again the profound effect the iPhone 6 had on the industry. The analytics company revealed that during Q4 2014, Android only managed to capture 11% of the global smartphone profit share, a record-low for Google’s ecosystem, while Apple took home a record-high 89% of all smartphone profits. FROM EARLIER: Is the Galaxy S6 really an iPhone ripoff? Leaked comparison photo lets you be the judge “Global smartphone operating profit grew 31% annually from US$16.2 billion in Q4 2013 to US$21.2 billion in Q4 2014,”Strategy Analytics Director Linda Sui said. “Android hardware vendors combined took a record-low 11% global

Senate panel backs Loretta Lynch as attorney general

Senate panel backs Loretta Lynch as attorney general

By Lindsay Dunsmuir WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to back Loretta Lynch as President Barack Obama's next attorney general, clearing way for her expected confirmation in the full Senate. If confirmed, Lynch would become the first black woman to serve as the nation's top law enforcement official. She would replace Eric Holder, who has held the post since 2009. At her Jan. 28 confirmation hearing, Lynch sought to smooth interactions with Republicans, who have repeatedly clashed with Holder, by emphasizing her determination for a "new and improved" relationship.

Exclusive: China drops leading tech brands for state purchases

Exclusive: China drops leading tech brands for state purchases

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China has dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some say is a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance. Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China's domestic technology industry from competition. Chief casualty is U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc , which in 2012 counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but by late 2014 had none, a Reuters analysis of official data shows. Smartphone and PC maker Apple Inc has also been dropped over the period, along with Intel Corp's security software firm McAfee and network and server software firm Citrix Systems .

Lenovo website breached, hacker group Lizard Squad claims responsibility

Lenovo website breached, hacker group Lizard Squad claims responsibility

Chinese computer and smartphone firm Lenovo Group Ltd said its website was hacked on Wednesday, its second security blemish days after the U.S. government advised consumers to remove software called "Superfish" pre-installed on its laptops. Hacking group Lizard Squad claimed credit for the attacks on microblogging service Twitter. Lenovo said attackers breached the domain name system associated with Lenovo and redirected visitors to lenovo.com to another address, while also intercepting internal company emails. Lizard Squad posted an email exchange between Lenovo employees discussing Superfish.

Gemalto confirms hack, but denies massive SIM keys theft

Following reports that claimed the NSA and GCHQ may have targeted Gemalto, one of the main phone SIM cards makers, the company revealed that such attacks indeed took place in 2010 and 2011, though the hackers were not able to steal SIM keys, as had been reported by the media. FROM EARLIER: Why the NSA SIM hack might be far more serious than you think Gemalto says that in 2010 and 2011 its network was hit by “particularly sophisticated intrusions” that are now believed to have been conducted by U.S. and U.K. spy agencies, but the company says the NSA and GCHQ were not actually able to penetrate the secure network where such sensitive SIM data is handled. The company also

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top regulator said Wednesday.

Hackers controlling millions of PCs disrupted in Europol sweep

By Anthony Deutsch and Jim Finkle AMSTERDAM/BOSTON (Reuters) - A cybercrime operation that stole banking information by hacking more than 3 million computers in Indonesia, India and other countries has been disrupted by European police with assistance from three technology companies, officials said on Wednesday. Europol's European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the operation out of its headquarters in The Hague, targeting the so-called Ramnit botnet, a network of computers infected with malware. Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp in dismantling the server infrastructure used by the criminals, Europol said. "The criminals have lost control of the infrastructure they were using," Paul Gillen, head of operations at Europol's cybercrime center, told Reuters.

Exclusive: China drops leading technology brands for state purchases

Exclusive: China drops leading technology brands for state purchases

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China has dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some say is a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance. Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China's domestic technology industry from competition. Chief casualty is U.S. network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc , which in 2012 counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list, but by late 2014 had none, a Reuters analysis of official data shows. Smartphone and PC maker Apple Inc has also been dropped over the period, along with Intel Corp's security software firm McAfee and network and server software firm Citrix Systems .

Why the NSA SIM hack might be far more serious than you think

A few days ago, a report revealed that spy agencies including the NSA and GCHQ, managed to bypass the security of SIM card manufacturer Gemalto and gain access to valuable encryption keys that protect cellphone signals. Even though Gemalto denied the reports, but The Verge points out that the hack might be more serious than initially believed, as it could give agencies the ability of infecting any phone using these specific SIM cards with additional spyware programs. FROM EARLIER: Bombshell report reveals the NSA has stolen encryption keys for millions of SIM cards Access to these encryption keys do not give governmental agencies only the power to monitor cellular communications, including calls and data, but they also come with additional

Reddit, Google crack down on posting nude pics

Reddit and Google are taking a tougher stance against nudity to prevent their services from turning into online peep shows. Social-networking and news site Reddit says it will remove photos, videos and ...

How Google Chrome is keeping you safe from malware

No matter how hard you work to ensure your private data stays safe, it’s impossible to account for every potential security threat, as most recently illustrated by Lenovo’s bizarre adware catastrophe. Thankfully, there are other technology companies that consider security a priority, which is why Google’s latest Safe Browsing expansion is worth highlighting. DON’T MISS: Not even turning off your Android phone can stop this malware from spying on you In order to protect users from downloading malicious software, Google has added an additional warning in Chrome when users visit any webpage where attackers “might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience.” This bold, red warning coupled with the dialog box that appears before downloading a program could save

Trial begins in high-profile Silicon Valley sex bias case

Trial begins in high-profile Silicon Valley sex bias case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A lawyer for a former junior partner suing a venture capital firm in a Silicon Valley sex bias suit contended Tuesday that his client was passed over for promotions because she was a woman and then fired after she complained.

U.S. offers highest-ever reward for Russian hacker

U.S. offers highest-ever reward for Russian hacker

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department and FBI on Tuesday announced a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev, the highest bounty U.S. authorities have ever offered in a cyber case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also issued a "Wanted" poster for Bogachev, who is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts. Bogachev has been charged by federal authorities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering in connection with his alleged role as administrator of GameOver Zeus.

Sony taps Tom Rothman of 'Titanic' fame to head movie studio

Sony taps Tom Rothman of 'Titanic' fame to head movie studio

By Mary Milliken and Eric Kelsey LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures Entertainment on Tuesday named veteran film executive Tom Rothman, a force behind all-time top-grossing blockbusters "Titanic" and "Avatar," to head its movie studio in a shuffle prompted by the fallout from a cyberattack. Rothman, 60, takes over for Amy Pascal, who suffered public embarrassment after hackers leaked emails she had written to other Hollywood executives. Rothman, who brings expertise in both blockbusters and art-house films, will probably push for more franchise development as he did at Fox, where he launched the "X-Men," "Planet of the Apes" and "Ice Age" movies. Rothman was known for financial discipline when he co-led Fox Filmed Entertainment from 2000-2012.

Home Depot sales beat estimates; warns on currency

Home Depot sales beat estimates; warns on currency

Chairman and Chief Executive Craig Menear said if the U.S. dollar stays at current levels the company expects a negative impact of $1 billion to 2015 sales growth and a hit to earnings of 6 cents a share for the year. Home Depot shares were up 3 percent at $115.67 in midmorning after rising as much as 5 percent. Earlier on Tuesday, luxury home builder Toll Brothers Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised the low end of its full-year home delivery forecast as housing demand strengthened. U.S. homebuilders remain upbeat about market conditions, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders published last week.

NSA chief declines comment on spyware reports, says programs lawful

NSA chief declines comment on spyware reports, says programs lawful

By Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the National Security Agency refused to comment on Monday on reports that the U.S. government implants spyware on computer hard drives for surveillance purposes, saying "we fully comply with the law." U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers was responding to reports that the NSA had embedded spyware in computers on a vast scale and that along with its British counterpart, had hacked into the world's biggest manufacturer of cellphone SIM cards. Former NSA operatives told Reuters the agency was behind the campaign. Another report, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by the Intercept site, said the U.S. agency and its British counterpart hacked into Gemalto, which produces SIM cards. I don't have time." Even as he declined comment on the reports of aggressive NSA operations, Rogers argued that U.S. intelligence, along with law enforcement agencies, needs the legal means to break strong encryption increasingly built into operating systems such as those of Apple or Google.

Target slices free-shipping minimum in half to $25

Target has sliced its minimum online purchase to qualify for free shipping in half to $25 as the Internet becomes a bigger and bigger sales hub for retailers. The minimum takes aim at competitors Wal-Mart ...

Lenovo’s adware disaster is even worse than we thought

News broke late last week that Lenovo had been shipping laptops with man-in-the-middle adware preinstalled which could hijack HTTPS traffic and insert its own ads onto websites that users were visiting. This major security threat was initially found lurking in just two pieces of software on Lenovo’s computers, but the number rose dramatically over the weekend as Ars Technica reports security researchers discovered more applications riddled with adware. As of Sunday, at least 14 applications have been found to use the technology which puts users at risk. READ MORE: Microsoft just nuked Lenovo’s adware so you hopefully don’t have to “What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure through their use of an easily obtained root CA , they provide little information

5 old-school smartphones that are still awesome to use, according to Android fans

The life of a smartphone is typically very short and it seems like even the hottest Android phone will seem obsolete after only a year. With this in mind, members of Reddit’s Android community have put together a list of Android phones that have stood the test of time and are still great to use. We’ve listed the top results below by the number of up votes they received. DON’T MISS: HTC One M9: New leak includes images, specs and everything else you need to know Samsung Galaxy S III The Galaxy S III is the top choice here and with good reason. This was Samsung’s breakthrough hit phone that propelled the company to the top of the Android smartphone world.

Kirk Cameron, Cameron Diaz rake in 'worst achievement' Razzies

Kirk Cameron, Cameron Diaz rake in 'worst achievement' Razzies

By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former child star Kirk Cameron tried "Saving Christmas," but he more likely killed a career comeback with the movie that ruled at this year's Razzies, the awards for the worst achievement in film. Cameron, 44, was declared the big winner at Saturday night's 35th Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony, taking four of the six categories in which he and his Christian family comedy "Saving Christmas" were nominated: worst picture, worst actor, worst screenplay and worst screen combo - for him and his ego.

Superfish points fingers over ad software security flaws

Superfish points fingers over ad software security flaws

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A little-known Silicon Valley startup was caught in a firestorm of criticism this week for making software that exposed Lenovo laptop users to hackers bent on stealing personal information. But Superfish Inc. has also won praise for producing visual search technology that many see as the next big thing in online shopping.

Snowden leak: NSA helped British steal cell phone codes

Snowden leak: NSA helped British steal cell phone codes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Britain's electronic spying agency, in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency, hacked into the networks of a Dutch company to steal codes that allow both governments to seamlessly eavesdrop on mobile phones worldwide, according to the documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden.

State Dept. has yet to clear its computer network of hackers: WSJ

Three months after the U.S. State Department confirmed hackers breached its unclassified email system, the government has still not been able to evict them from the network, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing three people familiar with the investigation. Government officials, assisted by outside contractors and the National Security Agency, have repeatedly scanned the network and taken some systems offline, the Journal reported. Each time investigators find a hacker tool and block it, the intruders tweak it slightly to attempt to sneak past defenses, the Journal reported. Two of the people said the intruders had taken State Department emails related to the crisis in Ukraine, among other things, the Journal reported.

Lenovo shipped laptops with security flaw, experts say

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — If you've recently purchased a laptop computer made by Lenovo, you may want to hear this: Experts say the world's biggest computer maker shipped laptops with pre-installed software that could let hackers steal passwords or other sensitive information when you use the web to shop, pay bills or check email.

Options traders bet on growing U.S. demand for cyber security

Options traders bet on growing U.S. demand for cyber security

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK (Reuters) - A barrage of damaging cyber attacks has shaken up the security industry, and traders in the options market are betting on cyber security companies benefiting from increased spending as governments and businesses boost security. Cyber security has become a major concern for U.S. firms with recent high profile data breaches reported at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target Corp, Home Depot Inc, and most recently at health insurer Anthem Inc. Analysts see Cyber security companies FireEye Inc and CyberArk Software Ltd benefiting from increased spending on security. "Overall, call buying seems to be driving a lot of the order flow in both names as players in the options market take positions in anticipation of additional upside for shares in the days/weeks ahead," said Fred Ruffy, options strategist at WhatsTrading.com.

How Lenovo single-handedly lit its reputation on fire this week

We’ve seen plenty of companies score own goals over the years, but this one is still quite a doozy. PCWorld reports that security researchers recently discovered that Lenovo has been shipping its new computers with man-in-the-middle adware installed that hijacks HTTPS traffic to inject its own ads onto encrypted sites. DON’T MISS: Windows 8 vs. Windows 10 – The biggest features Microsoft axed for its new OS While this kind of third-party ad injection is obnoxious enough, PCWorld writes that it also creates major potential security vulnerabilities for end users as well. Specifically, PCWorld says the adware “installs a self-generated root certificate into the Windows certificate store and then resigns all SSL certificates presented by HTTPS sites with its own certificate,”

Lenovo to stop pre-installing controversial software

Lenovo to stop pre-installing controversial software

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's largest PC maker, said on Thursday it will no longer pre-install software that cybersecurity experts said was malicious and made devices vulnerable to hacking. Lenovo had come under fire from security researchers who said earlier on Thursday the company pre-installed a virus-like software from a company called Superfish on consumer laptops that hijacked web connections and allowed them to be spied upon.

Check Point buys Israeli cyber security firm Hyperwise

(This February 18th story has been refiled to clarify Shlomo Kramer did not co-found Hyperwise in the last paragraph) TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Internet and network security provider Check Point Software Technologies has bought Israeli start-up Hyperwise, saying it will help it compete in the fast-growing cyber security market. Check Point said on Wednesday it paid "tens of millions of dollars" for Hyperwise, a company with roots in Israel's military intelligence and electronic espionage Unit 8200.

Lockheed sees double-digit growth in cyber business

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp, the No. 1 provider of information technology to the U.S. government, said it expected double-digit growth in its overall cybersecurity business over the next three to five years, and even bigger gains in the commercial sector. Lockheed, also the Pentagon's biggest supplier, said it was making strong inroads in the commercial market by leveraging a dozen years of experience and intelligence gathered while guarding its own networks and those of government agencies. Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson said Lockheed was providing cybersecurity services for more than 200 customers around the world in critical infrastructure areas such as the energy, oil and gas, chemical, financial services and pharmaceuticals business. Hewson told the company's annual media day that Lockheed had faced 50 "coordinated, sophisticated campaign" attacks by hackers in 2014 alone, and she expected those threats to continue growing.

BlackShades owner pleads guilty in US in malware case

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-creator of sophisticated BlackShades malware pleaded guilty Wednesday to a criminal charge after authorities said his product infected over a half-million computers in more than 100 countries.

open-source

Calibre review

Manage your eBook library and synchronize to reader devices

The GIMP's bad news could be good news

The GIMP's bad news could be good news

The GIMP has lost its User eXperience (UX) maintainer. Jack Wallen thinks this could be good news for one of the most powerful open-source image editing tools.

Ubuntu developments: 15.04 Beta 1 and the first Ubuntu phone

Ubuntu developments: 15.04 Beta 1 and the first Ubuntu phone

The split development paths of Ubuntu desktop and the converged Ubuntu Desktop Next mean that, so far, Ubuntu 15.04 for the desktop looks underwhelming. Meanwhile, the first Ubuntu smartphone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, goes on sale.

As messaging apps proliferate, one service aims to power them all

As messaging apps proliferate, one service aims to power them all

A simple conversation can get tangled up in a slew of different apps. It was a continuation of a dream they had pushed during the instant messaging era with the creation of XMPP, better known as Jabber. In mobile messaging, that unified world is still largely a fantasy, but Layer has signed up 1,500 customers during its private beta, with a waiting list of 8,500 more. The sales pitch for Layer was that any app could add messaging with just 10 lines of code. For startups who haven’t launched, Layer is free.

Hortonworks Q4 misses on revenue

Hortonworks Q4 misses on revenue

This marks the first quarterly filing for the company since its ​IPO in December of last year, when its stock popped 65 percent on the first day of trading.

Android Kids' Tablets Full of Dangerous Security Flaws

Android Kids' Tablets Full of Dangerous Security Flaws

Several top-selling Android tablets made for children have serious security flaws that could expose kids to malware and identity theft, a new report from a mobile security provider finds. The report, released today (Feb. 24) by San Francisco-based Bluebox, ranks the Fuhu Nabi 2 best in class out of nine tablets evaluated, yet notes that the Nabi barely scored above a 5 on Bluebox's 10-point trustworthiness scale. "You get what you pay for in terms of data privacy and security," the Bluebox report said, noting that some of the cheaper devices came with development builds of Android that were insecure by design. In addition to the Nabi 2, iDeaPLAY and Orbo Jr., the devices tested were the Contixo Kids 7, the iRulu Kid Pad, the Kurio 7s, the ProntoTec 7-inch WiMo, the Southern Telecom Smartab and the Sprout Channel Cubby.

Mobile technology helps Sri Lanka cope with climate change

By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Floods and landslides linked to climate change have battered parts of Sri Lanka in the past two years, disrupting food output, but scientists believe a new program to install low-cost weather stations based on open-source technology could help farmers adapt to increasingly wild weather. New Mobile Weather Stations, made mainly from local parts, are starting to give farmers quick access to rainfall data, so they can better plan for floods or other extreme weather, Yann Chemin, a scientist leading the new initiative, said on Tuesday. The easy-to-make sensors cost about $250 to produce compared with about $10,000 for standard weather stations, he said. When more of the systems have been produced, Chemin hopes to have text messages sent from the sensors directly to farmers and government officials when rainfall levels are expected to rise in a specific area.

Valve's Steam VR Headset Puts Oculus in Sights

Valve's Steam VR Headset Puts Oculus in Sights

The ever-growing virtual reality space just gained some Steam. Software maker Valve confirmed that it is debuting the first-ever Steam VR headset at Game Developers Conference 2015 in early March, which will pit the company head-to-head with both Oculus Rift and Razer's new OSVR system. Details on Valve's VR platform are currently sparse, but the developer will be providing demos of the hardware in San Francisco from March 4 to March 6. Valve also promises to show off a revamped Steam Controller, as well as new "living room devices," which we presume to be Steam Machines.

Valve showing off new virtual reality hardware and updated Steam controller next week

Valve showing off new virtual reality hardware and updated Steam controller next week

Valve is gearing up to announce a range of new hardware at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in early March. The developer said today that it is planning to show off the final version of its Steam Controller, new "living room devices," and a previously-unannounced virtual reality system called SteamVR at the event, scheduled to take place between March 2nd and 6th. Details about all the new hardware are thin at the moment — we'll know more when The Verge heads to GDC next week — but we've seen several versions of the Steam controller already. Steam Machines — packaged Linux-based PCs that use Valve's SteamOS operating system — have also had a slow start. Perhaps notably, Valve did not specifically say it was revealing new Steam Machines at GDC, preferring instead to use the tag "living room devices." It's possible the company could be showing more third-party Steam Machines, its own in-house version of the small-form PC, or something else entirely.

gaming

PlayStation Plus free games for March may not be announced until ... well, March

PlayStation Plus free games for March may not be announced until ... well, March

PlayStation has already announced a special sale for PS4 titles with 10 percent discounts exclusive to PS Plus subscribers, but not the lineup of free games. Normally, PlayStation Plus makes its free games available when the service updates on Tuesday in North America. The Feburary lineup of games was announced on the last Thursday of January. Xbox Live already has announced the free titles that Games With Gold will deliver its subscribers in March.

The new Fable will be free-to-play on Xbox One and PC

The new Fable will be free-to-play on Xbox One and PC

Fable Legends' free-to-play implementation will be somewhat similar to another Xbox One game, Killer Instinct. Like that game, Fable Legends players will get access to a rotating roster of heroes that they can play with for a set period of time. Lionhead says that some cosmetic purchases in Fable Legends can only be purchased with real-world money. Fable Legends will require an Xbox Live Gold subscription on Xbox One but will have no such requirement for the Windows 10 version.

Here are the free games you’ll get on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in March

We’ve covered Microsoft’s Games with Gold every month since the program made its debut on the Xbox One last June. Some offerings have impressed us more than others, but I think it’s fair to say that the selection in March is the best yet. READ MORE: 10 awesome paid iPhone apps that are now free for a limited time (save $55!) Xbox One owners with active Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will be able to download Rayman Legends for free starting on March 1st. Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends are two of the most improbably perfect platformers released on any console in the last generation, going toe-to-toe with the best of what Nintendo has to offer. Whether or not you have any interest in

Google's Artificial Intelligence Can Probably Beat You at Video Games

Google's Artificial Intelligence Can Probably Beat You at Video Games

Computers have already beaten humans at chess and "Jeopardy!," and now they can add one more feather to their caps: the ability to best humans in several classic arcade games. A team of scientists at Google created an artificially intelligent computer program that can teach itself to play Atari 2600 video games, using only minimal background information to learn how to play. By mimicking some principles of the human brain, the program is able to play at the same level as a professional human gamer, or better, on most of the games, researchers reported today (Feb. 25) in the journal Nature. This is the first time anyone has built an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can learn to excel at a wide range of tasks, study co-author Demis Hassabis, an AI researcher at Google DeepMind in London, said at a news conference yesterday.

Hotline Miami 2 comes to PC and PlayStation on March 10

Hotline Miami 2 comes to PC and PlayStation on March 10

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is coming to PC and PlayStation platforms on March 10, developer Dennaton Games and publisher Devolver Digital confirmed today. The ultra-violent top-down shooter is also getting a promotional tie-in with another shooter, Overkill's Payday 2; owners of both games on PC will get special Hotline Miami-themed masks and jackets to wear in Payday 2.

'Neverwinter' MMO dated for Xbox One

'Neverwinter' MMO dated for Xbox One

Chinese publisher Perfect World Entertainment and American tech giant Microsoft have announced plans to bring massively multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons adventure "Neverwinter" to the Xbox One on March 31, 2015.

Could a Kanye West video game rival Kim Kardashian's?

Kanye West is working on a video game. You read that right. The rap star – who’s branched out into other fields like fashion – is now developing a video game. He's far from the only celebrity trying to "game" the world.

Neverwinter MMO will be available for free on Xbox One starting March 31

Neverwinter MMO will be available for free on Xbox One starting March 31

Perfect World Entertainment, in partnership with City of Heroes and Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios, is bringing its massively multiplayer online role-playing game Neverwinter to Xbox One on March 31, the company announced today. Neverwinter is set in the world of Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons franchise, where players will create a character and explore the Forgotten Realms. Neverwinter is Cryptic and Perfect World's first free-to-play title to launch on both PC and consoles.