Techmeme
December 18, 2013, 9:10 PM

Top News

New York Times:
Obama Panel Recommends New Limits on N.S.A. Spying  —  WASHINGTON — A panel of presidential advisers who reviewed the National Security Agency's surveillance practices urged President Obama on Wednesday to end the government's systematic collection of logs of all Americans' phone calls …
The Switch:
Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning  —  The woman was shocked when she received two nude photos of herself by e-mail.  The photos had been taken over a period of several months — without her knowledge — by the built-in camera on her laptop.
Walter S. Mossberg / Wall Street Journal:
Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews  —  Walt Mossberg on the products that changed the digital industry  —  Remember the Apple Newton?  How about Netscape?  Even if these products did not last until the present, they left their mark in the evolution of personal technology.
Andy Greenberg / Forbes:
Google Glass Face Recognition App Coming This Month, Whether Google Likes It Or Not  —  Since Google Glass first appeared, its potential for facial recognition has been seen either as a privacy nightmare or as one of the headset's first truly intriguing uses.  Google has declared itself in the first camp.
Clare Jim / Reuters:
China Mobile chairman says still in talks with Apple on iPhone deal  —  (Reuters) - China Mobile Ltd said it's still in talks with Apple Inc to sell iPhones amid mounting industry speculation that the pair are about to announce a deal to net the technology giant hundreds of millions of potential new customers.
Liz Gannes / AllThingsD:
oDesk and Elance Merge to Create One Big Freelancer Company (But Still With Two Brands)  —  Elance and oDesk said today that they would merge.  The companies have a lot in common — they both connect freelancers and gigs online — and they say they have a combined 10 million workers in 180 countries, with $750 million in 2013 billings.
Aaron Souppouris / The Verge:
Spotify brings a clean new look to the desktop  —  Spotify has started pushing out an update for its desktop client with a new aesthetic.  We've tested out the refreshed app, and the starkest difference from the current version is a new darker theme; it's very dark, almost black in places …
Ken Yeung / The Next Web:
Twitter's Vine gets vanity URLs: sign-up starts Dec. 20 for verified accounts and Dec. 23 for all others  —  As a holiday treat, Twitter has announced that it will begin allowing Vine users to register for vanity URLs for their profiles.  The race begins on Friday, December 20 at 9am PST …
More: CNET
Jonathan Stempel / Reuters:
Facebook, Zuckerberg, banks must face IPO lawsuit: judge  —  (Reuters) - A federal judge said Facebook Inc, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and dozens of banks must face a lawsuit accusing the social media company of misleading investors about its financial health before its $16 billion initial public offering last year.
Jon Fingas / Engadget:
Microsoft releases standalone Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps for Windows Phone 8  —  Microsoft appears to be taking a page from Google's approach to core software updates; it just launched standalone Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps for Windows Phone 8 users.  The music app is largely …
Barb Darrow / Gigaom:
It's official: China is the wild, wild west of cloud computing  —  Within hours of Amazon's announcement of a new Beijing region for Amazon Web Services, IBM jumped into the mix, announcing a new relationship with 21Vianet to offer high-end SmartCloud Enterprise + cloud services from a new 21Vianet-hosted facility in Beijing.
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
Apple's New Mac Pro Goes On Sale Thursday Online And In Retail Starting At $2,999  —  Apple has just announced that its new Mac Pro computer, featuring that signature ‘Darth Vader’ design, will be available for sale starting tomorrow, Thursday Dec. 19 beginning at $2,999.
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
Use of Tor helped FBI ID suspect in bomb hoax case  —  It's true that the Tor anonymity service helps people cover their tracks on the Internet.  But when it's not used carefully, it can be the very thing that tips off the people the user wants to evade, as was demonstrated in a federal investigation earlier this week.
Kevin C. Tofel / Gigaom:
In prep for an early 2014 launch, devs can access Pebble's smartwatch app store  —  With nearly 200,000 Pebble smartwatches on wrists, it's about time for a dedicated app store.  The “Pebble appstore” — that's the branded name — is planned for early 2014, and on Wednesday, Pebble opened up early access for developers to prepare.
Larry Dignan / ZDNet:
Oracle's Q2 better than expected; Hardware sales stabilize  —  Summary: The bleeding in Oracle's hardware business appears to have stopped and execs tout cloud bookings momentum.  —  Oracle's second quarter results were better than expected and the company said software as a service bookings growth was 35 percent.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols / ZDNet:
Google joins Open Invention Network patent commons as a full member  —  Summary: Google joins IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony as a full member of the Open Invention Network open-source and Linux patent protection organization.  —  The Open Invention Network (OIN) …
Matthew Panzarino / TechCrunch:
Yahoo Introduces New Style Of Flickr Embeds To Seed Content Outside Of The Site  —  Yahoo has introduced a new cleaner style of photo embeds today.  Just about everyone has used content from Flickr in various ways at some point, especially from its great store of Creative Commons licensed images.
Bloomberg:
Sony Said to Explore Sale of Gracenote Audio-Recognition Service  —  Sony Corp. (6758), looking to shed units to focus on fewer products, hired Frank Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners to explore a sale of its Gracenote audio-recognition software business, two people briefed on the matter said.
More: Gigaom
Liz Gannes / AllThingsD:
Big Money for Mobile Crowdsourced Transit App Moovit, With Sequoia Leading $28M Round  —  The notion that public transportation is a large and growing global opportunity for a tech company might seem a bit of a strange one.  But, as Moovit co-founder and CEO Nir Erez sees it …

Sponsor Posts

Microsoft:
Queensland Government partners with Microsoft to bring Office 365 to 149,000 government employees  —  Queensland, the second-largest state in Australia, will partner with Microsoft to bring Office 365 …
Atlassian:
Every team needs kick-ass code reviews  —  Code reviews help spread knowledge and coding best practices throughout a team.  In this article we'll take a look at why code reviews are important, and how to optimize the practice.
Zoho Blogs:
2 Ways Live Chat Can Enhance Your Customer Service  —  Landing a new customer is 5x more expensive than keeping an existing customer.  How do we keep our customers happy?  By providing outstanding support.
Silicon Valley Bank:
Strengthening the U.S. Innovation Economy by Ending Abusive Patent Litigation  —  In Silicon Valley Bank's Innovation Economy Outlook 2014 survey, we asked executives what they see in today's patent system …
 

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