An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including the end of a good run, Google halts sales of Google Glass, Xiaomi launches yet another look-alike product, Intel posts strong PC numbers, high-tech firms settle poaching antitrust lawsuit, and Microsoft does the right thing (again) for the Xbox One.
An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including an ignoble end for Microsoft's advance security notification service, the malaise that is CES, Maryland chooses Office 365 and common sense, Microsoft supports Bitcoin on Windows Phone, you can play old MS-DOS video games on the web for free, Google is selling auto insurance, and Apple reaped $4.5 billion from third party app sales in 2014.
Continuing a theme that persisted throughout 2014, where T-Mobile blazes a path, the bigger wireless carriers follow, and more consumers benefit. This time around, the innovation is rollover data, a plan by which customers of the carriers can move unused data bandwidth to the next month.
The buzzword at this week's CES 2015 in Las Vegas is of course "The Internet of Things," an annoying term for something—interconnected embedded devices—that has been around for many years. This isn't the first time the tech industry has jumped the shark with a new term for something old—cloud computing is an obvious recent example—but surely there is a better way to discuss this technology and how it will impact our lives.
Sony on Monday announced that it had sold 18.5 million PlayStation 4 consoles to consumers since the device's launch in November 13, further distancing the front-runner from the Xbox One. Furthermore, the consumer electronics firm sold 4.1 million PS4 consoles in the final six weeks of 2014 alone, a healthier-than-expected end to an already dominant year.
Apple has been accused of misrepresenting the storage available in the 8 GB and 16 GB versions of various iPhone, iPad and iPod models courtesy of a new class-action lawsuit. And while the consumer electronics giant isn't alone in eating up copious amounts of onboard device storage for its OS—this has been an issue with PCs and other handsets and digital devices for years—Apple is of course a high profile target, and one that attracts mainstream customers unaware of such technicalities.
Reuters is reporting this week that the US government now believes that North Korea didn't act alone in launching a massive cyber-attack against Sony Pictures. Instead, it "contracted" hackers from outside the isolated country to bring down the entertainment firm.
With 2014 winding to a close, I'm wondering what surprises await us in the New Year. So here's a quick rundown of some of the tech happenings and trends I see for 2015, with a particular emphasis on our favorite little tech colossus from Redmond.
A hacker group launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Day, making the services inaccessible for millions of users. As of Friday morning, some users were still experiencing difficulties connecting to certain parts of the services.
An often irreverent look at this short holiday week's other news, including a holiday break, Ireland supports Microsoft in email warrant case, Google and Microsoft team up to prevent hotel Wi-Fi blocking, Mississippi AG has it in for Google, and Sony relents on the overwhelming demand and will release the most eagerly-awaited film of all time on Christmas Day.
In what might have been the first sign of US retaliation against North Korea's electronic attack on Sony Pictures, the totalitarian country dropped completely off the Internet on Monday for several hours with widespread outages continuing into Tuesday. At this time, it's not clear what triggered the massive outage. But it does seem like the "proportional response" promised by US president Obama, especially when you consider that North Korea's small Internet-accessible population is largely military or governmental in nature.
With 2014 winding to a close, it's pretty clear that Microsoft's "mobile first, cloud first" mantra is the most important trend of the year, one will look back on and remember as an inflection point of sorts between or on premises and PC-based past and this new way of doing things. That slow-moving Microsoft was able to reinvent itself is amazing in its own right. But the real story here is whether its massive customer base moves forward with it.
US president Barack Obama said this weekend that the North Korean electronic attack of Sony Pictures' computer systems and subsequent leaking of information was an act of cyber-vandalism, not war. This declaration effectively limits any potential response to the attack the United States, though what that response might be remains to be seen.
An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including Dean Hachamovitch's exit from Microsoft, a bizarre but temporary anti-Google post, Microsoft will take on tech support scammers, a long-awaited Xbox VR headset may appear next year, and the US is trying to figure out an appropriate response to the North Korea hack of Sony.
NBC News and The New York Times are independently reporting that the United States has determined that the North Korean government was indeed behind the electronic attack against Sony. This isn't the first time a government has instigated such an attack against a public company, but the terrorism threats that have accompanied the hack are a concerning new low.