An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Microsoft Set to Release LTE-Equipped Surface 2 on AT&T
A set of FCC filings has revealed the pending release of a product we've known was coming for some time: an LTE version of Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet that will work with AT&T Wireless in the United States. (A version for Vodafone in Europe was also previously revealed, but of course the FCC information related only to the US version.) Digging through the filings, I don't see any new or specific details about the product, but their appearance suggests that this new Surface version will ship within weeks. Too bad there wasn't anything about a smaller Surface mini.
Microsoft Issues Workaround for Zero Day IE Vulnerability
Responding to Zero Day exploits of vulnerabilities in its Internet Explorer (IE) 9 and 10 web browsers, Microsoft this week issued suggested EMET mitigations (workarounds, basically) and web-based "Fix It" solutions for individuals. Microsoft says these steps were required because Windows 7- and 8-based PCs and Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 servers running these IE versions were "under attack." Not surprisingly, the company used this event to push its latest browser version, too. "Upgrading to Internet Explorer 11 is the best way to stay safe from exploit attempts targeting this vulnerability," the firm noted in a post to its Security Research and Defense Blog. And fair enough: No version of Windows running IE 11 is vulnerable to these attacks. While you're installing that, you can read the FireEye blog for information about these vulnerabilities.
Dell Adopts Wireless Charging Format
Dell this week revealed that it has joined the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), the first major PC maker to do so. Today, we see Qi-based wireless charging on Nokia Lumia smartphones and on recent Google Nexus devices, and anyone who has used such a thing will tell you that once you've gone wireless, going back to wired power is painful. But the problem with wireless charging is that Qi is only one of three or more formats competing to become a standard. And A4WP is another, and it's incompatible with Qi and other wireless charging formats. So instead of tangles of incompatible wires, it's possible that our future will simply be a tangle of incompatible wireless charging surfaces.
EU Regulator Defends the Indefensible
Following criticism from Google's competitors—and just about anyone else who understands what's really at stake—European Union (EU) Antitrust Chief Joaquin Almunia defended the EU's settlement with Google, saying that the European Commission (EC) would monitor the firm's compliance going forward. "I have heard people say that the Commission has entered a gentlemen's agreement with Google which would lead to a way of dropping the charges or closing the file," he admitted. "Not at all." Realists have of course already given up on this case, and hope that the EU will be a little more stringent in its next antitrust investigation against the search giant. "We are in the process of investigating Android in the next few weeks," he said. So maybe next time.
Because We Need Yet Another Box in the Living Room
Online e-tailing giant Amazon is planning a living room setup box that will of course stream content from its own entertainment services—Amazon Prime Video and so on—but was apparently delayed this past holiday season so that the firm could sign up third-party services, too. Though it's unclear how such a device could possibly offer a compelling alternative to your typical Roku device or Apple TV, Amazon has done some interesting things with its Kindle tablets, so anything is possible. One report suggests that Amazon is trying to secure live television streaming, which would put it in position to compete with purported (and always changing) rumors surrounding a next-gen Apple TV.
How Not to Be a Glasshole
In an ironic move, Google has posted an entertaining list of do's and don'ts for users of its ridiculous Google Glasses products. Among the advice to users—which it cloyingly calls "Glass Explorers," as if they're some 1950s fan club for a forest ranger TV show—are such nuggets as "Don't be creepy or rude," which is obviously impossible. Here's some better advice: "Don't wear Google Glasses. It's the only real way to avoid being a Glasshole."
But Wait, There's More
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