Techmeme
December 29, 2013, 3:50 PM

Top News

Spiegel Online:
NSA Tailored Access Operations unit specializes in “getting the ungettable”, intercepts hardware shipments to plant malware  —  The NSA Uses Powerful Toolbox in Effort to Spy on Global Networks  —  The NSA's TAO hacking unit is considered to be the intelligence agency's top secret weapon.
Spiegel Online:
NSA has 50-page catalog of exploits and backdoors in devices from Cisco, Huawei, Dell, Juniper, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Samsung, and more  —  Catalog Reveals NSA Has Back Doors for Numerous Devices  —  After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through …
Gregg Keizer / Computerworld:
Chromebooks' success punches Microsoft in the gut  —  Amazon, NPD Group trumpet sales of the bare-bones laptops in 2013 to consumers and businesses  —  Chromebooks had a very good year, according to retailer Amazon.com and industry analysts.  —  And that's bad news for Microsoft.
John Gruber / Daring Fireball:
Chromebook Sales vs. Web Traffic Share  —  Gregg Keizer, reporting for Computerworld: … If these reports are right, we should soon see a corresponding surge in web traffic share for ChromeOS.  But I'm having trouble finding a web traffic source that even counts Chrome OS as an entity.
Tweets: @manxstef and @naofumi
Nitasha Tiku / Valleywag:
John Markoff / New York Times:
Qualcomm says its first commercial neuromorphic (brainlike) processor is coming in 2014  —  Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience  —  PALO ALTO, Calif. — Computers have entered the age when they are able to learn from their own mistakes, a development that is about to turn the digital world on its head.
More: Forbes
Jim Finkle / Reuters:
Exclusive: Hacker took over BBC server, tried to ‘sell’ access on Christmas Day  —  (Reuters) - A hacker secretly took over a computer server at the BBC, Britain's public broadcaster, and then launched a Christmas Day campaign to convince other cyber criminals to pay him for access to the system.
More: Mashable and SlashGear
John Gruber / Daring Fireball:
2013: The Year in Apple and Technology at Large  —  Christopher Mims, writing for Quartz, “2013 Was a Lost Year for Tech”: … What a sad pile of piss-on-everything cynicism.  —  Was 2013 a seminal or particularly extraordinary year for technology?  No, I'd say not.
Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD / Flurry Blog:
Kindles saw 24x bump in activations on Christmas vs. other Dec. days, Apple saw 2.3x bump  —  Amazon Delivers A Great Christmas For Its Kindle  —  In less than a decade, connected devices have become an integral part of Christmas.  They are commonly wished for and given as gifts …
Dan Seifert / The Verge:
How would in-flight calling actually work?  —  The technology's already here — someone just has to flip the switch  —  Making phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air has been a hot-button topic of late, spurred on by recent comments made by Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Sponsor Posts

Microsoft:
Teachers use Bing home page lesson plans to encourage critical thinking skills  —  Find out how free lesson plans based on images like this Siberian tiger from Bing's home page encourage students to explore subjects in creative and thought-provoking ways.
Intel:
Intel Unveils 8-Core Processor Gaming Monster at PAX  —  Intel just announced its first 8 core, 16 thread gaming monster — otherwise known as the Intel® Core™ i7-5960X processor Extreme Edition desktop processor …
VMware:
Top Five Reasons Why Your Organization Should Consider Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery  —  Few organizations can afford the downtime caused by a disaster.  Those capable of weathering such events usually have the datacenters …
Zoho:
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