? All Tech Radio Episode 397
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  • Tesla is being banned from selling in North Carolina. Tesla is a new high tech electric car that is selling well across the country without the use of traditional dealerships. From the state that brought you the nation's first ban on climate science comes another legislative gem: a bill that would prohibit automakers from selling their cars in the state. The proposal, which the Raleigh News & Observer reports was unanimously approved by the state's Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, would apply to all car manufacturers, but the intended target is clear. It's aimed at Tesla, the only U.S. automaker whose business model relies on selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through a network of third-party dealerships. The bill is being pushed by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, a trade group representing the state's franchised dealerships. Its sponsor is state Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Henderson, who has said the goal is to prevent unfair competition between manufacturers and dealers. What makes it "unfair competition" as opposed to plain-old "competition"-something Republicans are typically inclined to favor-is not entirely clear. After all, North Carolina doesn't seem to have a problem with Apple selling its computers online or via its own Apple Stores.
  • Another blow to Blackberry. The Pentagon cleared Apple Inc. (AAPL) devices for use on its networks, setting the stage for the maker of iPhones and iPads to compete with Samsung Electronics Co. and BlackBerry for military sales. The Defense Department said in a statement today that it has approved the use of Cupertino, California-based Apple's products running a version of the iOS 6 mobile platform. The decision eventually may spur a three-way fight for a market long dominated by Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry. The Pentagon on May 2 approved Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung's devices, as well as BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.
  • New Xbox and PlayStation
  • Smartphone upstart Jolla - founded by a bunch of ex-Nokia engineers - has finally unveiled a device. The gadget's technical details are few and far between at this moment. The handset itself won't be available until the end of the year, but anyone willing toplonk down €100 can get get in line early for the €399 phone and bag a free t-shirt - along with a clip-on back panel which is a key differentiator for the thing as it competes against rival hardware running Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry's BBOS 10. The device runs Sailfish OS, a gesture-controlled platform developed by Jolla and previewed last November. Sailfish uses a lightweight flavour of Linux, called the Mer operating system, and has the ability to run Android applications via a compatibility layer. Open-source Mer is based on MeeGo, Nokia's doomed mobile Linux project that Jolla's software engineers used to work on.
  • Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China's People's Liberation Army went silent amid evidence that they had stolen data from scores of American companies and government agencies, they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques, according to computer industry security experts and American officials. The Obama administration had bet that "naming and shaming" the groups, first in industry reports and then in the Pentagon's own detailed survey of Chinese military capabilities, might prompt China's new leadership to crack down on the military's highly organized team of hackers - or at least urge them to become more subtle. But Unit 61398, whose well-guarded 12-story white headquarters on the edges of Shanghai became the symbol of Chinese cyberpower, is back in business, according to American officials and security companies.
  • Last week, Dell announced a brutal earnings report, and its sagging PC business was the primary culprit. The company's Project Ophelia, an out-of-the-box PC concept set to debut this July, won't change that on its own, but it could represent an important shift in the company's thinking. Ophelia is a miniature computer that could easily be mistaken for a USB stick. Equipped with two USB ports, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a dual-core processor, the device plugs into a display's HDMI port, turning compatible screens -- from small desktop monitors to giant HDTVs -- into ad hoc computing devices. Ophelia runs Android 4.0 but also comes with PocketCloud, which allows users to access files stored on PCs and other devices. It also can facilitate a host of remote desktop opportunities by hooking into virtualization platforms from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.
  • Eesha Khare, an 18-year-old from California, won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000 for her participation in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair run by the Society for Science & the Public. Think of it as the world's largest science fair. Khare took home one of the top prizes for "a tiny device that fits inside cell phone batteries, allowing them to fully charge within 20-30 seconds." The official title of Khare's project is "Design and Synthesis of Hydrogenated TiO2-Polyaniline Nanorods for Flexible High-Performance Supercapacitors
  • Today's definitely a big day for Tumblr: there's a refreshed iOS app in the iTunes Store! And, well, a bit of other news, too. But you'll hear plenty more about thatlater -- for now, it's all about mobile. The blogging platform just updated its application for iPad and iPhone, adding that "fancy new post type chooser" that recently made its debut on Android. The design tweak enables one-click access to a variety of post tools, letting you submit video, chats, links, quotes, photos and text, with colorful icons to match.
  • It's the question of the moment inside the murky realm of cybersecurity: Just who - or what - is the Syrian Electronic Army . The hacking group that calls itself the S.E.A. struck again on Friday, this time breaking into the Twitter accounts and blog headlines of The Financial Times. The attack was part of a crusade that has targeted dozens of media outlets as varied as The Associated Press and The Onion, the parody news site. But just who is behind the S.E.A.'s cybervandalism remains a mystery. Paralleling the group's boisterous, pro-Syrian government activity has been a much quieter Internet surveillance campaign aimed at revealing the identities, activities and whereabouts of the Syrian rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Suicide continues to plague Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant best known for making Apple products. At least two Foxconn workers, and one prospective employee, have fallen to their deaths in Zhengzhou, China over the last 20 days, according to various reports. The most recent incident occurred on May 14, when a 30-year-old male from Henan, who had been working at Foxconn since the end of April, jumped off the roof of a building, New York-Based nonprofit China Labor Watch reported on Friday. Before that, a 23-year-old female worker reportedly leapt off the twelfth floor of an apartment building on April 27, China Labor Watch said. Just days earlier on April 24, a 24-year-old male worker jumped off the roof of a dormitory building.

email from listeners:

  • Norman from Florida asks "The new Blackberry phones look pretty great. Why is everyone bad mouthing them?"