The AeroQuad quad-rotor featured in this video was named as one of the 6 Top Robots of Maker Faire. Read about all 6 robots at the bottom of this post.
Google Trying to Preempt EU Anti-Trust Action but Critics Not Impressed
If you’ve used Google for a hotel search recently, you’ve probably seen Google’s Hotel Finder displayed in-line with organic search results but labeled as “Sponsored.” To avoid European anti-trust issues, Google is proposing such labeling with its own brand on all such content. Fairsearch.org says that isn’t good enough because Google could still displace competitors’ placement in search results with its own services.
“Do Not Track” Turning into a Farce
“Do Not Track” was originally proposed as a sort of online analog to the U.S. government’s “Do Not Call” registry, which allows residents to opt-out of telemarketing calls. The intent of “Do not Track” was to allow netizens to opt out of online tracking mechanisms in place on virtually all major websites. However the online advertising industry has been using its influence to change the proposal beyond all recognition of the original intent. Long-time tech journalist Ed Bott documents the absurdities that have been proposed of late, including this one:
Marketing should be added to the list of “Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers” in Section 6.1 of the Tracking Definitions and Compliance Document.
I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t sound like “Do Not Track” to me.
Check your Web Privacy with Privacyfix
The new Privacyfix Chrome and Firefox browser add-on analyzes how you’re being tracked by Google and Facebook, tells you how much you’re worth to them and suggests ways to tighten your privacy settings. Similar tools have been around for ages but this one is particularly nice. I gave it a go and found it easy to use and insightful. Recommended.
Beware of Huawei Routers
On Monday the U.S. Congress issued a report warning against the use of Chinese firm Huawei’s routers because of concerns they might be used to spy on sensitive government and business data. Such rhetoric might be dismissed as political gamesmanship, but now security expert Felix Lindner has demonstrated a number of vulnerabilities in Huawei router code. The problems Lindner has uncovered appear to be due to poor development practices more than sinister intent. Regardless of the reason, there is enough evidence of risk that prudent organizations will conduct a thorough risk analysis before using Huawei equipment.
Preview of a Production Windows 8 PC: Acer Iconia W510
The Verge has a good preview of what it will be like to use production hardware for Windows 8. Despite the lowly specs of the Acer Iconia W510—an Atom Z2760 processor and 2 gigs of RAM—they report that Windows 8 runs smoothly. However, Windows 8 has a “giant learning curve,” a factor that may hurt adoption of the OS. There are lots of new gestures and shortcuts to learn. On a positive note, the author reports:
“…using the W510 has made one thing abundantly clear: the convertible, laptop / tablet hybrid is a perfect fit for Windows 8, and Windows 8 makes this form factor sing in a way Android and other operating systems just can’t.”
SoundCloud offers an Interesting Platform for Musicians and Recordists to Make Money
Photo licensing agencies, which enable content creators to pay photographers for a license to use their images, have been around for ages. I often use one called Dreamstime when I need a compelling photo to illustrate TCTReview articles.
Now SoundCloud has partnered with Getty Images to provide creators of audio files with an equally easy way to sell licenses to use their work. The system displays a “License” button on SoundCloud players. Buyers merely click the button to license the sound for use their advertisement, video, broadcast, etc.
Like what You See in Online Photos and Videos? You Can Buy It
Startup company Graymatics has developed software that can automatically recognize consumer products in online videos and photos. The software inserts a hover-over link that users can click to buy the product from an ecommerce site.
Tech Briefs: Recent News Items of Significance
- Walmart is market testing same-day delivery. TechCrunch
- U.S. ISPs to begin monitoring illicit file sharing. Users will receive alerts when the system reckons they may have illegally accessed copyrighted material. Wired
- Apple-owned fingerprint software exposes Windows passwords. Ars Technica
- New iPods come in dissolving tapioca-based packaging. Mashable!
- Developers warned Apple about maps quality long before iOS 6 release. CNET
- Microsoft’s newly stated strategy sounds a lot like Apple’s, and Ballmer got a lower bonus. Reuters
- Microsoft Office is coming to iOS and Android devices…at some unspecified time in some unspecified form. AllThingsD
- Year over year PC Shipments will decline in 2012 for the first time in 11 years. The Next Web
- AMD aims new Z-60 chip at Windows 8 Tablets. Engadget
- Logitech announces spacey-looking Windows 8 touch pad and touch mice. The Verge
- The era of the PC is over. Coding Horror Blog
- Google finally fostering Android apps that are optimized for tablets rather than just phones. Wired
- Spotify’s premium paid music service to be offered on Samsung TVs. Wall Street Journal
- Security firm RSA announces system to improve password security by splitting up passwords and storing the parts on different servers. Technology Review
- That groaning sound you hear is gaming service OnLive’s creditors, who will be getting 26 cents for every dollar they are owed. San Jose Mercury News
- NYMag: Can Marissa Mayer have it all? New York Magazine
- How patents are stifling technology innovation and competition. New York Times
- Here’s an idea: make patent trolls pay when they lose frivolous lawsuits that they probably filed in hopes of getting pre-trial settlements. GigaOM
- Code Monster is a fun free system that teaches programming to kids. Geeking with Greg
- 10 gadgets you can buy today that won’t be obsolete next month. TechNewsDaily
- The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet may have terrible sales, but it has the best security of any tablet on the market. TechNewsDaily
- Amazon moving into the advertising business in a big way. Advertising Age
- The Public Interest Registry, which manages .org domain names is releasing 94 one and two letter .org domain names for registration. Fancy UR.org? VentureBeat
Just One More: The Top Robots of Maker Faire 2012
They dance. They fly. They dive underwater. They even shoot people (with paintballs). They’re the robots of Maker Faire 2012!