China rejects BITCOIN -- META PRO challenges Google Glass -- New MAC PRO goes on sale -- Former Microsoft exec to RESCUE Healthcare.gov

 

December 18, 2013 06:00 PST | 09:00 EST | 14:00 UTC

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>> RED TIDE: China's largest bitcoin exchange forced to stop accepting deposits, by Michael Kan: "China's recent clampdown on bitcoin appears to be forcing the nation's largest exchange to stop accepting deposits, dealing a major blow to the virtual currency in the nation. The exchange, BTC China, said on Wednesday it could no longer take deposits in Chinese yuan. On the same day, the exchange's third-party payment service notified BTC China that it would stop accepting its customers' deposits. BTC China's CEO Bobby Lee said he's not been offered an explanation for the service stoppage. However, he pointed to recent Chinese news reports saying local regulators had demanded local third-party payment processors refrain from offering services to bitcoin exchanges." InfoWorld

>>>> Bitcoin drops from $1,242 on Dec 4 to $543 today Bitcoin Charts

>> WASHINGTON WIRE: Slobberknockered -- How a toothless bureaucratic commission went all Snowden on the NSA, by Matthew M. Aid: "A group appointed by President Barack Obama in August to review the National Security Agency's hugely controversial spying operations has finished its work... The still-classified report of the five-person panel, whose official moniker is the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, recommends sweeping and far-reaching changes in the way the NSA conducts its electronic surveillance operations, from a greater degree of executive-branch oversight of the agency's operations to the imposition of new limits on what data it can collect, especially inside the United States -- a move almost certain to anger the NSA and its supporters inside the U.S. intelligence community. But the report also recommends that the agency be allowed to continue some of the most controversial of these operations, which will not please its critics on Capitol Hill and among privacy advocacy groups." Politico

>>>> Tech company officials meet with Obama officially about Healthcare.gov, but focus on NSA surveillance instead TechDirt

>>>> Tech executives to Obama: NSA spying revelations are hurting business WaPo

>>>> White House to tap Microsoft exec Kurt DelBene to fix HealthCare.gov Politico

>> HIGH-STAKES POKER: China Mobile chairman says still in talks with Apple on iPhone deal, by Reuters: "Xi Guohua, the chairman of the world's largest mobile phone carrier, said on Wednesday morning that his company had no announcement to make on any deal to carry Apple's smartphones. Xi was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Guangzhou, a southern city of China." Reuters

>> REDMOND CONCLAVE ON HOLIDAY: Microsoft director says CEO choice will not be made until early 2014, by Kara Swisher: "While the timing is still within the time frame laid out by the company after Ballmer announced in August that he would be leaving, many inside the company -- especially weary employees -- had hoped that the new CEO would be named by the end of the year." AllThingsD

>>>> Microsoft's Nadella studies startup ethos amid CEO search Bloomberg

>>>> Is Surface 2 selling out? WindowsIT Pro

>>>> Has Microsoft gone nuts? MobileOpportunity

>>>> Expect a season of new beginnings from Microsoft in 2014 InfoWorld

>> EXPENSIVE GIFT: Apple's new Mac Pro goes on sale Dec. 19 online and in retail starting at $2,999 by Darrell Etherington: "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. There's another version with better specs for $3,999, and a number of custom order options that will vary the prices upwards from there. Orders kick off tomorrow online through Apple's official web-based store, as well as in retail stores and at authorized resellers, according to Apple's official announcement, so conceivably we could see the first customers actually take theirs home tomorrow." TechCrunch

>> ZEITGEIST: Dead people and disasters: Google's top searches suggest this wasn't such a good year after all, by Ricardo Bilton: "The top trending search, was of course, for Nelson Mandela, who died this month at 95. Action film star Paul Walker, who died last month in a car crash, was the second most-searched term, and Glee star Cory Monteith, who, yes, also died, was the fourth most-trending term. Bookended by all that death was the iPhone 5S, which was the third most-trending story of the year." VentureBeat

>>>> 2013 in Search: Heroes, tragedies and the Harlem Shake Google Official Blog

>>>> Our searches, ourselves: The year's top tweets, trends, and more InfoWorld >> COMING ATTRACTIONS: Meta unveils Meta Pro, its $3,000 AR glasses now available for pre-order, by Ryan Lawler: "The display includes ultra-thin see-through optics with a 40-degree field of vision. Each display is built to play 720p HD, and with two of them, they're aligned to display stereoscopic 3D. The sensor array will include dual RGB video and photo sensors, as well as nine-axis tracking with accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass included." TechCrunch

>>>> Google gets some new competition, but outlook for smart glasses is hazy Al-Jazeera America

>> CODE OF CONDUCT: Bloomberg improves instant messaging compliance as banks consider chat room bans, by Matthew Finnegan: "Bloomberg has responded to a clampdown on trader chat rooms by improving tools that allow compliance staff to monitor instant messages. The financial data provider, which claims to support over 15 million messages between traders every day, has witnessed a number of banking clients such as Barclays, JPMorgan and Citi banning the use of chat rooms in recent months, impacting use of its own systems. Regulators have focused on the use of electronic messages by traders to collude on rate rigging during the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) scandal, as well as ongoing investigations into foreign exchange markets, creating pressure on banks to improve their ability to monitor communications." Computerworld UK

>> BIG DATA SCREEN: Amazon wants to analyze real-time data with Kinesis, by Mikael Ricknas: "... now available as a public beta. It is a managed service designed to handle real-time streams of data. It can collect and process large amounts of data, from any number of sources, including server logs and social media feeds." InfoWorld

>> Your environment matters if you want to make better decisions Farnam Street

>> Sailthru raises $20M round to personalize email marketing and more TechCrunch

>> CloudFlare reveals $50M "secret" funding -- from one year ago AllThingsD

>> PayPal acquires mobile platform provider StackMob so developers can build more payment-friendly apps TNW

>> Cisco buys mobile collaboration company Collaborate.com Network World

>> Klarna acquires Germany's Sofort for $150M to build a formidable European payment network TechCrunch

>> Amazon raises its game against Alibaba, will expand AWS cloud services to China in 2014 TechCrunch

>> Designing for exponential trends of 2014 Learning by Shipping

>> LG's 'Chromebase' all-in-one brings Chrome OS to Web kiosks/public workstations Ars Technica

>> TiVo co-founders about to release new TV streaming box called QPlay GigaOM

>> Mossberg's swan song: 20 years of personal tech Wall Street Journal

>> New modulation scheme said to be 'breakthrough' in network performance Network World

>> The case for a compulsory bug bounty Krebs on Security

>> 4 ways network virtualization improves security InfoWorld

>> Face++ shows more evidence of innovation from China (aside from that moon landing) Pando

>> Go Google Go! A language on full throttle InfoWorld

>> Christmas Cipher Challenge - 2013 Cyber Security Challenge UK

>> BITCOIN THIS HOUR: $543 Mt.Gox

>> TWEET O' THE DAY: "It took Steve Jobs 2 years to release the iMac after he returned as CEO. Marissa Mayer has been at Yahoo! for 1.5 years." @andrewchen

FEED ME, SEYMOUR: Comments? Questions? Tips? Shoot mail to Trent or Woody. Follow @gegax or @woodyleonhard.

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