? All Tech Radio Episode 387
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  • Remember back in January when Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming hinted at a possible acquisition of BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM)? After discrediting those rumors shortly after they surfaced, Lenovo is back with more chatter of the possibility of a BlackBerry buyout. Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing says that a BlackBerry acquisition "could possibly make sense." According to Bloomberg, Yuanqing told French newspaper Les Echos that buying BlackBerry would be possible, but Lenovo would first "need to analyze the market and understand what exactly the importance of this company is." These remarks are of similar timbre to Wong's comments back in January, although Lenovo downplayed the significance of Wong's comments saying you got the Wong idea.
  • A bar in Seattle is the first to ban the high tech glasses by Google. The Google glasses are not available yet but look like something out of the movie 'Back to the Future.' The wearer puts them on like a regular pair of specs, but unlike your reading glasses the 'Google Glass' allows you to take video, pictures, share and get directions right in front of your eyes. The 5 Point Bar told UPI.com, "For the record the 5 Point Bar is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And [butt] kickings will be encouraged for violators." The owner of the 5 Point Bar, Dave Meinert says he does not want his customer's privacy invaded nor does he want them video taped without their consent.
  • China's Internet security watchdog said Sunday that a growing number of Chinese public institutions and companies have been threatened by cyber attacks from other countries or regions. The popular news portal China.com.cn, people.com.cn and Tibet.cn have all been victims of attack from foreign Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the past two months, according to a report issued by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center. It noted that 39 of those websites were recorded from IPs within the United States.
  • Security researchers at MWR Labs have won a $100,000 prize at the Pwn2Own hacking competition in Vancouver. The researchers showed off their hack yesterday as they took a fully patched version of the Google Chrome browser, hacked it, and then took control of Windows 7. According to the researchers, when a Chrome user visits a malicious Web page, it's possible for the page's creator to exploit a vulnerability that allows for code execution in the sandboxed renderer process. From there, the team exploited a kernel vulnerability in Windows 7 to gain elevated privileges and execute commands.
  • The increasing amount of personal information that can been gleaned by computer programs that track how people use Facebook has been revealed by an extensive academic study. Such programmes can discern undisclosed private information such as Facebook users' sexuality, drug-use habits and even whether their parents separated when they were young, according to the study by Cambridge University academics. In one of the biggest studies of its kind, scientists from the university's psychometrics team and a Microsoft-funded research centre analysed data from 58,000 Facebook users to predict traits and other information that were not provided in their profiles. The algorithms were 88 per cent accurate in predicting male sexual orientation, 95 per cent for race and 80 per cent for religion and political leanings. Personality types and emotional stability were also predicted with accuracy ranging from 62-75 per cent. Facebook declined to comment. The study highlights growing concerns about social networks and how data trails can be mined for sensitive information, even when people attempt to keep information about themselves private. Less than 5 per cent of users predicted to be gay, for example, were connected with explicitly gay groups.
  • SXSW Conference. Art, Copy & Code was the centerpiece of Google's Playground, set up in a space directly across the street from the Austin Convention Center. There's a sports theme throughout, with a basketball court on one side and an obstacle course on the other. The company was letting visitors try out its new talking-shoe concept, with a custom-made microcontroller (along with assorted SparkFun pieces) on the tongue of a pair of Adidas. Above that is a circular speaker that provides feedback based on your movement (detected by internal accelerometers and gyroscopes, along with pressure sensors in the sole). The shoe will then give you aural feedback, based on how you're moving. So, why hack up a perfectly nice pair of black high-tops? Google's giving the shoes character, using Bluetooth to sync up to your smartphone and "using a series of 'if and statements,' to give your shoes personality." So, some shoes will laud you for getting off the couch and others will encourage your lollygagging. Again, while the company has the blessings of Adidas, we're not going to see this on the market as such, though the Google spokesperson we talked to told us the company may be looking to open-source the information, so you can just make your own.
  • Unicorn Apocalypse, the mobile game Samsung promoted in its TV ads that began airing at the beginning of the year, isn't fictional after all - it's a real, playable game live now in the Google Play app store. Generally speaking, the Samsung ads, designed by an agency called 72andSunny, were both relevant and memorable - they even featured cameos from Tim Burton, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd at times. For those unfamiliar, the commercials took aim at BlackBerry in particular, by touting the enterprise-friendliness of Samsung's devices. An ongoing series, they feature the team at a generic startup shop, where a group of young people are working to put out a mobile game called "Unicorn Apocalypse." As it turns out, Samsung held a contest to create the game which was used in the TV commercials, and the winning entry game from the developers at Liquid Gameworks. The plot, apparently, has to do with a unicorn described as the "harbinger of the apocalypse." Players will run the unicorn across an urban landscape, jumping over rooftops and avoiding the "deadly unicorn traps" that soldiers from the Anti Unicorn Force has deployed. There are also three "boss" levels to beat, and metal soundtrack to accompany said unicorn's spree.
  • Students, listen up. If you're not already using Google Docs, starting today, Microsoft is offering anyone with a ".edu" email address up to 6 months to try out the subscription-based office suite for free. This deal is only applicable to students to those who are currently enrolled and attend an American school in the U.S. (sorry, alums), in addition to teachers and administrative staffers who work at these institutions. By submitting your email address to Microsoft, you'll receive an email with a link to download 'Office 365 University' and use it free for three months. If you're willing to share your deal with your friends and family on Facebook, you can earn an additional three months, which gives you a total of six months to put the office software to good use. Besides getting free access to school-friendly software like Word and PowerPoint, you'll also get 20GB on SkyDrive to store your files in the cloud to collaborate with your classmates on projects, as well as 60 minutes of Skype per month so your mom can keep tabs on your college life. With the student version of the Office 365, you'll be able to install the office software on up to two computers at the same time (including PCs or Macs). For example, you can keep a copy of Office on your desktop at home, as well install an additional copy on the laptop that you bring everywhere.
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell woke up to a hacked Facebook page that had some colorful things to say about former President George W. Bush. Earlier today, "Powell" started posting all-caps status updates that referenced the former president and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the Illuminati. The hack was first noticed by Gawker's Adrian Chen, who quipped that "either Colin Powell's Facebook was hacked or he has had a sudden change of heart about George W. Bush." The page went offline briefly, and Powell later apologized for the posts. "Dear Friends, I'm happy to report that the hacking problem has been fixed. We have been working with fb this morning and they took immediate action to remedy the situation," he wrote.
  • Facebook updates are generally met with equal parts excitement and skepticism. On Thursday, the company introduced an updated news feed, designed to keep users coming back to the site. Here's what to look for: Since its first appearance in 2006, the core idea of the newsfeed has stayed somewhat consistent: show news items and Facebook interaction from your friends. Earlier updates to the news feed allowed users to more closely control what appeared in the feeds of other users. In 2011, Facebook altered the news feed so it showed Top Stories and Most Recent news, but the content was chosen by an algorithm and wasn't comprehensive. Now, Facebook's decided to enhance the news feed by improving the presentation of multimedia that appears there and adding new filters to give users more control over what they want their news feed to show. All content that appears in the news feed has been redesigned, bringing a unified look to all platforms. Photos and videos are displayed more prominently, while information shared from user pages or profiles is easier to pick out.

email from listeners:

  • Paul from Dallas asks "Is Microsoft Windows really in trouble? I have been hearing a lot about Windows 8 sales are poor."