Techmeme
December 29, 2013, 9:20 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 …
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.
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.
Fred Wilson / A VC:
A core issue: young women are not embracing tech in key development years as often as men  —  Girls Who Code  —  I feel badly for Paul Graham because he's being made out to be something I am sure he is not.  But the brouhaha that he unleashed about women founders, women coders …
Nitasha Tiku / Valleywag:
Wall Street Journal:
Google to partner with Audi for Android-based dashboards, will compete with iOS in the Car  —  Google, Apple Forge Auto Ties  —  Consumer Electronics Show to Spotlight In-Car Digital Race … Technology giants Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are about to expand their battle for digital supremacy to a new front: the automobile.
More: 9to5Google and SlashGearTweets: @chris_covello
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Facebook's Cutesy Annual Report To Partners Reveals First Country-By-Country Mobile Stats  —  TechCrunch has obtained never before published metrics showing Facebook's international growth.  Facebook sent some partners a playfully illustrated eMagazine called The Annual …
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: VentureBeat and ForbesTweets: @andrewyng and @stephenmarche
New York Times:
New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S.  —  WASHINGTON — Tucked into the mammoth defense budget bill that President Obama signed into law on Thursday is a measure that virtually bars Russia from building about a half-dozen monitor stations on American soil that critics fear Moscow could use to spy on the United States or worse.
More: Engadget and The VergeTweets: @kgosztola
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
Paul Krugman:
It's still unclear if Bitcoin can be a reasonably stable store of value  —  Bitcoin Is Evil  —  It's always important, and always hard, to distinguish positive economics — how things work — from normative economics — how things should be.  Indeed, on many of the macro issues I've written …

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John Gruber / Daring Fireball: